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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 7:55 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 7:57 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 6:42 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 8:16 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 9:23 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 8:25 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 8:22 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 1:23 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 2:14 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.
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jenise » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:38 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 4:14 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 4:50 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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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Paul Winalski » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:55 pm

I adore everything about the Cote d'Or and Chablis white Burgundies except their prices. The Macon remains a pretty good area for QPR chardonnay. From California I'm fond of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, which manages to avoid the over-oaked fruit bomb aspect that plagues a lot of California chardonnays.

-Paul W.
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:49 pm

I had a very nice Montelena years ago which was quite memorable. Lets hope this Pfalz Chardonnay will have the same effect!!

TN: 2017 Weingut Janus Herxheimer Chardonnay Spatlese Trocken.

Staff downtown tipped me off regards this chardonnay. $22 Cdn, nice label presentation.
Light lemon color and an enticing nose...tropical fruits, floral, peach with tones of minerality.
Initial entry thought was off-dry, good acidity and nice fruit balance. I did not serve too chilled, enjoyed the lengthy finish. "Not a creamy style" from across the table! Must be a Calif chard fan eh.
Apple, pear, mineral tones after a couple of hours. I would sure buy again, a nice surprise.
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Robin Garr » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:02 pm

B.R. Cohn 2015 Russian River Valley Sonoma County Chardonnay ($21.99)

This clear, straw-color wine's fresh-fruit aromas start with nectarines and pears, a whiff of tangerine, and a subtle back note of oak that plays as a spice without dominating. Bright and freshly acidic on the palate, medium-bodied green-apple flavors joining the chorus with a touch of citrus. It's dry and appropriately acidic, with a snappy, food-friendly finish. The label claims 14.5% alcohol, but I don't get a hint of alcoholic heat. Very pleasant, appealing and balanced. (Sept. 26, 2019)

FOOD MATCH: The winery suggests enjoying it as an aperitif or serving it with salads, seafood, and other light fare. I enjoyed it for sipping alone with paper-thin slices of Parmigiano Reggiano alongside.

WHEN TO DRINK: It's drinking very well now, and with the taint-free Diam cork, it should hold up nicely for a few more years.

VALUE:
I paid a few bucks above Wine-Searcher.com's $18 average retail, but it's an above-average California Chardonnay at this price point; I'd buy it again.

WEB LINK
Here's a winery fact sheet on the 2016 silver label Chardonnay.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for B.R. Cohn Russian River Valley Sonoma County Chardonnay on Wine-Searcher.com.

Follow this Wine-Searcher link to locate vendors and prices for B.R. Cohn's similar Silver Label North Coast Chardonnay.

Read more about Russian River Valley wines of all varieties and browse an extensive list of wines and vendors: Browse this Wine-Searcher link.
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by John S » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:46 pm

  • 2006 Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Les Fourneaux - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru (2019-09-09)
    No pox on this bottle! It always a worry when opening an older chablis. But this was in the zone now, with the rich butterscotch flavours developing on a medium-bodied, yet rich palate. Enough acid to keep it interesting, but few mineral notes left. Somewhere between secondary and tertiary now. Very enjoyable, but drink up fairly soon. (A-)
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jenise » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:07 pm

Two chardonnays enjoyed this week:

b]2014 Samuel Billaud Chablis Chardonnay[/b]
Can't believe we managed to keep our hands of these for two years, but it was worth the wait. One of the best 'entry level' Chablis I've ever had, and in absolutely peak form now.

2014 Mission Hill Chardonnay Perpetua Okanagan Valley VQA
The last CT reviewer captured it perfectly, so I'll just quote him: A balanced, ethereal nose of green apple, toast, butter, lees, wet stone, brioche, nuttiness, as well as noticeable though not obtrusive vanilla and cloves. It has aged very gracefully.


Speaking of Chablis, just scored some '17 Verget Vaillons on Last Bottle.
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jenise » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:09 pm

Robin Garr wrote:B.R. Cohn 2015 Russian River Valley Sonoma County Chardonnay ($21.99)


Now there's a label I haven't seen around in a long, long while. Glad it showed well--I haven't had many, or maybe any, 2015 Cal whites I've liked--most have been overripe. It was a doozy of a hot vintage.
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jenise » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:11 pm

John S wrote:
  • 2006 Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Les Fourneaux - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru (2019-09-09)
    No pox on this bottle! It always a worry when opening an older chablis. But this was in the zone now, with the rich butterscotch flavours developing on a medium-bodied, yet rich palate. Enough acid to keep it interesting, but few mineral notes left. Somewhere between secondary and tertiary now. Very enjoyable, but drink up fairly soon. (A-)


I share your concern about older Chablis/white burgs in general. We generally drink them up in the first 6 years now.
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 Robin Garr » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:42 pm

Jenise wrote: It was a doozy of a hot vintage.

Yeah, the 14.5 probably signaled that. It didn't burn with alcoholic heat, though, and was really nicely acidic, though, with a structure that took it far away from flabbiness.
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Tim York » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:09 am

With turbot and a buttery sauce on the menu last night, I immediately thought of pairing the dish with a fine rich but elegant white Burgundy from the Côte d'Or. Alas I found that I have none left in my cellar. Since premox emerged I have had to pour between 10 and 20 flawed bottles of late 90s and early 00s 1er & GCs from Sauzet, Ramonet and the like down the sink. I have not bought any such wines in the last 10 years because of the risk in letting them mature and because I tend not to care for their showing in their first 5 years of life before the oak has integrated properly.

As a substitute I tried a Saint-Véran but it proved inadequate -

2017 Verget Saint Véran Terres de Pierres - France, Burgundy, Mâconnais, Saint Véran (9/28/2019)
Like the previous bottle, very enjoyable with medium body, white fruit, fine minerals, a touch of spice, fresh acidity and backbone. However it was not rich or complex enough to stand up to turbot with beurre blanc sauce and only came into its own after that dish was finished, when nice underlying roundness emerged. Good.
Posted from CellarTracker

As a reminder of what I miss, here is the last TN I can find of a mature generic Meursault performing as it should -

1999 Coche-Dury Meursault - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault (10/9/2016)
Mercifully pox free as nearly all my Meursault from Coche-Dury has been. Indeed still quite youthful seeming with deeper colour and more complexity than the previous Ganevat, of course, and making its mark more by focussed saline minerality with fresh acidity than by nutty and other secondary flavours but there was still ample white fruit and butterscotch tinged roundness for balance. Very good.
Posted from CellarTracker

Can anyone reading this post recommend a Côte d'Or producer with a light touch with oak whose wines can rival that Coche-Dury when still in their early life?
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jenise » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:37 am

Tim, while I understand your POV I have to say that's not a fair fight, even for a Verget (which should show better in another year). Coche-Dury! :)
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Re: September Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Chardonnay

by Jim Grow » Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:40 pm

2015 Ramey Richie Vnyd. Chardonnay as usual a very fine Sonoma Chardonnay with lots of spicey pear fruit and a chalky minerality. The acidity was very fine with a pricklyness that made me look for bubbles but found none. abv of %14.5 The balance was such that this wine could probably age for 8-10 more years easy. color of medium straw
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