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JC (NC)

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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by JC (NC) » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:55 pm

I missed you and Lucy at MO'COOL this summer. I will be opening a Gary Farrell Chardonnay soon and also one or more from France. Was slightly disappointed in the last Ceritas Chardonnay I opened.
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jenise » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:57 pm

So last night my Dork group, coincidentally, did chardonnay--as always, a blind tasting. The theme was either "unusual chardonnays" or "not your usual chardonnays"--can't recall which. The group came through big time, with Warren telling us that he wanted to bring "8 or 10" bottles and we should only bring one each. Of course most of us brought backups and everyone ended up opening some or all of their backups. In the notes that follow, if the wine doesn't have another name attached to it that's one of Warren's--not that anyone here knows or cares, but it's worth rolling one's eyes over the generosity of just one person.

2006 Bruno Paillard Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Chardonnay
Gabe's. Lemon-tangy with hazelnuts and baked apple in the manner of a French chausse-au-pomme. Fine bead dances on the tongue and turns creamy on the finish. Lovely.

1995 Charles Heidsieck Champagne Blanc des Millénaires Chardonnay
Red apple fruit with toasty brioche notes and all that extra mushroomy stuff about well-aged champagne. Fantastic fine bead with a cashmere finish. Excellent.

2004 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne Chardonnay
Initial brettiness blows off with time in the glass. Generous, bright sunny and poised fruit with more ripeness than I associate with 04 Champers in general or as I imagine Comtes to be based on recent 06's, but it all works. Fantastic.

2000 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis 1er Cru La Forest Chardonnay
Pale greenish hue, nose of apple cider and preserved lemons. On the palate, almonds and more apple and that telltale Chablis steeliness. Mature but no oxidation. Terrific length on the finish.

2009 Beringer Vineyards Chardonnay Private Reserve Napa Valley
Tim's. Hopelessly American with overt ripeness, sweet vanilla and toasted oak. Cloying finish.

2016 The Walls Vineyards Chardonnay La Lutte White Salmon Columbia Gorge
Mine. Very pale, with deft, delicate nose and flavors of transparent apple and yellow watermelon. Notes of white flowers and Downey Fabric Softener waft in and out and the body sneaks up on you. I chose this, pertinent to the theme, because it's so atypical of what happens to chardonnay in this state or of what you'd expect from this winery, known for their big wines.

2016 El Enemigo Chardonnay Mendoza
Erik's. Apparently a high pointy wine though not sure which critic, this over-reaches with strong and concentrated bitter almond notes and an almost-sappy finish. I can see why others recommended it served colder as that would hobble the excesses. Did not care for it.

1995 Kalin Cellars Chardonnay Cuvée W Livermore Valley
Very Vin Jaune-ish and initial guesses went straight to the Jura. No, we were told, from California, from a Valley where this might be the only winery. Someone said "Death Valley?" Touche. Just too much oxidation and not enough acidity for most of us.

2014 Jean Bourdy Chardonnay Côtes du Jura
Vic's. So the previous wine DIDN'T turn out to be Jura but this one unexpectedly did. The fruit's sexy and acidity adds perfect tension--a great vintage of this wine and probably the best Bourdy chardonnay I've had. It even convinced a Jura-hater to reconsider his stance.

2016 SIXTO Chardonnay Uncovered Washington
Doran's. An earlier conversation about Charles Smith wines mentioned the Sixto brand which is openly and deliberately aimed at the California style, like anyone needs that, and I offered that I'd tasted thru the lineup and didn't care for them. So Doran thought, I'll get her, and slyly put this wine into the rotation. Didn't work: lemon Pledge and apple butter, big acid, heavy finish. Mr. Smith gets $60ish for these. Not my thing.

2016 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Mark's. Lightly buttered popcorn, apples and white nectarines with some flint notes. Good acidity and balance.

2017 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Doran's. A twin of the preceding wine, just firmer and more developed. Very good.

2014 Remoissenet Père et Fils Savigny-lès-Beaune Blanc Chardonnay
Mine. White pepper nose and creamy, bechamel-texture with casaba melon, pear and flinty minerality. A head-turner of richness and craft for a mere Village wine.

2016 Bret Brothers Saint Véran La Soufrandrière Saint-Véran la Combe Desroches Chardonnay
Mark's. A Becky Wasserman import. Pleasantly typical of expectations but perhaps a tad too much fat and oak; another year or two in bottle should pull it all together.

2009 Dehlinger Chardonnay Russian River Valley
Erik's. Ripe with a lot of butterscotch notes, easy to guess the vintage but still more developed than one would expect from this producer. Drink up.

2016 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Montmains Chardonnay
Tim's. Balanced and appropriate; very good.

2013 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly Chardonnay
Very flinty nose with creamy/powerful gravenstein apple and lemon curd on the palate. I believe Warren was a little disappointed with this compared to other bottles he's had but the quality's apparent and I thought it was stunning, just in need of a few years to harmonize.

1990 Fabien Coche-Bouillot Meursault 1er Cru Charmes Chardonnay
Stunner of the night. Very youthful color and texture; doesn't even look ten years old let alone 29. Pear, orchard fruit, calcium and limestone. On CT I threw a 99 point score at it, though I don't usually do points. But any white that can age like this--this is an immortal wine and it deserves that. WOW.

2005 La Chablisienne Chablis Grand Cru Grenouilles Château Grenouilles Chardonnay
Deep gold-orange. To be fair, some people liked this, including its owner, but the oxidation was well past my tolerance levels with cloying notes of butterscotch, bergamot, bay leaf and stewed cabbage.

2014 Caroline Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chaumées Chardonnay
Terrific blend of fruit and savory. Creamy texture with lemon, lemon leaf and basil with a lightly metallic note on the finish. Still evolving.

2013 Arnot-Roberts Chardonnay Trout Gulch Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains
Lemon, white flowers, salinity and minerality, amazing nose and great attack on the palate. Superb balance. OFS.

2010 Ceritas Chardonnay Porter-Bass Vineyard Sonoma Coast
I drank this wine. I know I drank this wine because I wrote the name down. But it was wine #21 and I didn't write anything else. Hope it was great. [sheepish look]
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jenise » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:42 pm

Scallops tonight. Will be in my favorite scallop prep--a rarity that I have anything that's a favorite vs. a passel of favorites as well as exploring all the things not yet tried--but this is it, Marcella Hazan's. Seared then napped in a light wine-y cream sauce with rosemary, garlic and some chopped tomato on pasta.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:16 am

Any wine with those scallops?

Is it safe to admit that I don't "get" Kalin?

Arnot-Roberts does very nice work with Chardonnay. Problem is I already have two other similar producers I buy from who make a T-G Chard.
"The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."
- George Orwell
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jenise » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:23 am

Hmmmm...didn't mean to post that in this thread. Oh well but yes, opened a Brundlmayer gruner.

I don't get Kalin either. A strange curiosity whose fame is never deserved but for its weirdness--kind of famous for being famous. It's the Paris Hilton of California wine. :) But I definitely get Arnot-Roberts!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jim Grow » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:25 pm

2016 Walter Hansel Chardonnay from Russian River and Cahill vyd......my second bottle from a case and getting better. Medium straw color and an excellent nose of mineral and pear. The palate is the same but the pear has an obvious spicey note to it. Acidity is wonderful. I think this wine could improve for 10-15 years or more but I will not so mine will be gone in the next 2 years.
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jim Grow » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:22 am

2016 DuMOL Chardonnay Wester Reach
This Chardonnay had medium deep straw color and decent pear flavor with good acidity but was boring with no mineral note or spice . abv of %14.3
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Tim York » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:23 pm

This is my first example this month of a Chard from outside its historical homeland of Burgundy/Champagne/Jura. It was bought for use in cooking; I had quite low expectations and regrettably these were fulfilled. I hope it doesn't spoil the sea bass and mussel sauce which I can smell in preparation right now.

Chardonnay Ardèche 2018 - Vignerons Ardéchois - Alc.13% - c.€4
Very dry with not a lot of fruit and fragrance but quite a lot of acidity and harsh backbone which can perhaps be partly attributed to the altitude in a lot of that region. Louis Latour makes a Chard in Ardèche which, from memory, is much more suave. Hardly mediocre.
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jenise » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:14 pm

Jim Grow wrote:2016 DuMOL Chardonnay Wester Reach
This Chardonnay had medium deep straw color and decent pear flavor with good acidity but was boring with no mineral note or spice, abv of %14.3


Interesting--I don't think DuMols get called 'boring' very often.

Btw, your post had some formatting issues. I fixed them for you--just wanted you, in case it looks different to you, to know why.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jenise » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:38 pm

So from the best to the worst. Earlier this week I attended that epic chardonnay tasting above, and then two nights later invited friends over for a "Cheap Shit Chardonnay" tasting. This was caused by me having an hour to kill waiting to get a blood test--I got to the lab at 12:02 and they closed at 12:00 for lunch--and a Grocery Outlet was across the street so I went there for entertainment and, of course, ended up cruising the wine department.

Most wines at a GO are bulk juice from appellation 'California' mass produced for selling cheap. For this tasting, I tried to eliminate those from consideration by choosing only wines shown as 'Vinted and bottled by' the name on the label, even if they were obviously remaindered because of the vintage. I only recognized three winery names, Firestone, Vinum and Santa Rita. A guest brought the Township 7.

For palate calibration purposes, at another store I bought a Milbrandt Chardonnay from Washington state--quaffer priced at $11, but excellent for same--which I served first.

2018 Milbrandt Vineyards Chardonnay Columbia Valley
Perfectly poised and balanced, bright and tidy with excellent varietal character and nothing out of place. Great everyday quaffer at $11.

2017 Anthony Koster Chardonnay Barrel Select California
Green fig, lots of buttery malo, marshmallow sweetness, "liquid kettle corn", "college wine", and plenty of acidity. For all that, it got better in the glass and in the end was second best of the GO wines.

2016 Stone Cellars, California
Super ripe, very leesy with some smokey oak notes. Overall unpleasant.

2014 Firestone Vineyard Chardonnay Santa Ynez Valley
Mildly leesy notes of camembert cheese rind and asparagus on entry, fairly low acid with all the flavors on top and a fairly empty finish.

2016 Township 7 Chardonnay Okanagan Valley VQA
Pale and clean, seems unoaked, fresh saline nose. Varietal character isn't quite here--blind I'd be more inclined to think it a pinot grigio--but it's certainly pleasant.

2014 Alta Maria Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley
Not shy on oak and decently ripe, but there's solid chardonnay varietal character here with reasonable balance and it's a great match with the tangy tomato bisque (tomatoes like oak). Everyone's favorite.

2016 Vinum 'V' Chardonnay Monterey
Ripe notes of fig, caramel and a confected note of birthday cake without the acidity needed to life the sweetness.

2018 Viña Santa Rita Chardonnay 120 Reserva Especial Central Valley
The most interesting thing about this wine is the $4 price tag. Otherwise, it's vapidly average, mildly grassy and bitter on the finish.

So in conclusion, no amazing bargains at the GO, even at a top price of $7. It can happen but the more stores they build the less likely it gets--like Trader Joe's used to be in the good old days when they only had a few southern California stores. Sure made for a fun evening, though!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jim Grow » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:14 pm

thanks for the editing Jenise
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Robin Garr » Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:50 pm

Louis Jadot 2018 Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay ($17.99)

This fresh young Chardonnay is a clear bright straw color in the glass; its Diam technical cork comes out with a slight hiss that foretells a faint touch of carbonation as a slight prickle on the palate. Fresh, ripe apples dominate the aroma, with a subtle back note of wildflowers. Tart apples frame the flavor in a briskly acidic medium-bodied wine that offers a good expression of oak-free Chardonnay. Bright, almost sour lemony acidity lingers with tart cooking apples in the finish, and a hint of stony minerality adds complexity as the wine warms in the glass. U.S. importer: Kobrand Corp., NYC. (Sept. 19, 2019)

FOOD MATCH: The back label suggests shellfish, crab cakes, or goat cheese, and those all make sense. We tried it with a caprese salad of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil.

WHEN TO DRINK: There's no rush on the one hand, but I don't see any real benefit from cellaring. Drink up over the next three years or so.

VALUE:
My $18 local price was a bit spendy in contrast with Wine-Searcher.com's $14 average retail; it's widely available around the U.S. in the $11-$12 range. Still, it's good enough that I'm not upset about the toll.

WEB LINK
Here's a short fact sheet from Louis Jadot.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay on Wine-Searcher.com.

Read more about Mâcon-Villages and browse an extensive list of its wines and their vendors: Browse this Wine-Searcher link.
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