Showing posts with label unoaked. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unoaked. Show all posts

Monday, May 6, 2024

Don't Call This Chardonnay Cheap - Call It Affordable

Grocery chain Trader Joe's is a place you learn to love very quickly. Nice prices on things like wine, beer, cheese and nuts are fine, but the fact that the product is of high quality is a real bonus.

TJ's carries wines from a variety of producers, but the 2023 Trader Joe's Coastal Chardonnay is reportedly made by Castoro Cellars in the Paso Robles town of Templeton. Central Coast grapes went into the private label wine, which is unoaked. Alcohol is reasonable at 13$ abv and it sells at Trader Joe's for a bit less than $7. 

This wine has more of a yellow tint than I would expect from an unoaked Chardonnay. The nose is clean, though. Brilliant aromas of flowers, pears, peaches and apples come through with nary a trace of wood aging. The palate is rich and full, with fruit flavors dominating. Acidity is fresh and zippy, and nearly razor sharp. The fruit lasts on the finish and the wine is a perfect match for seafood, white sauce pasta or chicken.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

(Slaps Head) I Could Have Had A Chardonnay!

Dan Morgan Lee has been around wine since the '70s, made his own since the '80s and grown grapes since the '90s.  His Double L Ranch in the Santa Lucia Highlands is lauded for the quality of its fruit.  Sam Smith is the winemaker for Morgan Winery, and he carries out the minimalist vision that produces what they call wines of "balance, elegance and distinction."

2015 Metallico Un-Oaked Chardonnay

The grapes for the 2015 Metallico were taken from several cool Monterey County sites: the Roger Rose, Leavens, Double L, and Kristy’s estates.  It's unoaked, so they use the most fruit-forward vineyard blocks. The wine was whole cluster pressed, aged for five months in stainless steel, underwent no malolactic fermentation.  The alcohol sits at a very manageable 13.5% abv and it sells for $22.

This is a lovely, savory Chardonnay, the kind that makes me sorry I usually pass up the grape on restaurant lists and in the wine shop in favor of something a bit more exotic. This is plenty exotic.  Slightly golden in color, the nose brings an earthy salinity to the table.  A touch of lanolin masks the Meyer lemon and tropical fruit aromas.  The palate also shades the fruit with earthiness and lemon peels.  This wine has zippy acidity and is literally made to go with food.  I like it as much as some Chardonnays I've tried at twice the price.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Unexpected Napa Valley Wines On Social Media

The Napa Valley Vintners Association teamed up with The Daily Sip and the Sip’s editor-in-chief Karen MacNeil for a virtual wine tasting event which featured a sextet of “Unexpected Napa Wines.” What, exactly, are unexpected Napa wines? @TheDailySip tweeted the answer during the event. “We looked for classic estates making unexpected wines,” they chirped. “The #Napa Valley is a hotbed of American innovation,” they continued. “Traditions thrive and evolve while winemakers explore the new.”

The six wines tasted ranged from a mildly unexpected unoaked Chardonnay to quite unexpected California Albarino, Chenin Blanc and Petit Verdot to Fumé Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon - which I would say are far from unexpected in Napa Valley.

The #SipWithKaren wines:

  • Alpha Omega 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Artesa 2014 Albarino.
  • Cornerstone Cellars 2013 Chenin Blanc
  • Robert Mondavi Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Robert Mondavi Winery 2013 Fume Blanc
  • St. Supery 2010 Dollarhide Petit Verdot

I was invited to join this party and was provided samples of the wines for that purpose. I will cover them separately here in the coming weeks on Now And Zin Wine.

Alpha Omega 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay

Robin Baggett founded San Luis Obispo producer Tolosa Winery in 1997, and moved to Napa Valley in 2006 with his wife to found Alpha Omega. He has been a grape grower for years and now dabbles in cattle, too. Alpha Omega winemaker Jean Hoefliger is Swiss. His wine education took him from the Alps to Bordeaux and South Africa before landing in Napa. Michel Rolland is the consulting winemaker.

The Alpha Omega Chardonnay Unoaked Napa Valley 2013 prompted plenty of early comment on twitter during the first part of the tasting session. @TheAlcoholProf liked that the wine is "pleasantly acidic with caramel apple & citrus." Our fearless leader, @KMacWine, tweeted, "I like the Unoaked #Chardonnay a lot. It’s a wine that’s effortless to drink all day long." @DrinkWhatULike thought the wine "brings it with texture! Pear and baked apple for days." @timlemke Typed that "Unoaked Chardonnay is not unexpected to me. I expect to see more in the future, because it's awesome." He's right, too. @FeelingDuckie messaged "Must be #summer! All I can think about when I smell this #chardonnay are lemon-lime popsicles." Do I hear the good humor man's music? @TheDailySip cited "Ripe banana, yellow apple, cantaloupe, and a savory touch of squash blossom." On the unoaked aspect, @myvinespot said, "I'm totally expecting to see "Tree Free" on a wine label now instead of un-oaked, naked, or stainless."

The light yellow tint of the Alpha Omega '13 Unoaked Chardonnay foretells the nose of apples and apricots with a touch of Meyer lemon. There is lemon and tangerine on the palate with just a hint of dark earthiness. An excellent acidity and a crisp clean finish carries the fruit a long way. More than simply "clean" or "refreshing," which the wine is, this is a rather complex white that calls for a bit time to ruminate on its attributes.

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