The monthly Wine Focus discussions are now held in the main Wine Forum (above). The forum remains open as an archive, but please post comments and questions in the Wine Forum.
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Bob Hower

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Re: Most over-oaked chard you can think of?

by Bob Hower » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:09 pm

Hoke wrote:(And btw, the use I have in mind for an over-oaked chard doesn't necessarily mean I'm looking for a California chardonnay----any old over-oaked chard from anywhere will do. And for those who are still following, I already had Rombauer in the lineup, so I was looking for something more egregious than that. I know; horrible, huh?)


Okay, I'll bite. What use DO you have in mind? Enquiring minds want to know.
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Hoke

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Re: Most over-oaked chard you can think of?

by Hoke » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:22 pm

Well, I put together a comprehensive array of Chardonnays spanning multiple source regions and respresentive types....and everyone has to taste them blind.

Even better, they have to taste them blind, and then talk about them and offer judgements and analyses...blind.

They do so with the knowledge that some are products they represent, and some are products that are competitive (either directly or indirectly). And that some are there specifically because they represent ideas or concepts or styles or source regions that we already discussed previously.

They come pre-armed with prior discussion, as well as having been given presentations on terroir and style, and are at the time given a sheet listing the basic styles of chardonnay, the primary global sourcing regions, basic descriptors, and so on.

It's a combination tasting/exploration/discussion meant to operate at a blinding pace, forcing people to come to decisions based on what they know (or think they know), and they do it by primarily comparing one chardonnay against another against another without overlay of label.

Some people get incredibly sharp, incredibly fast. Others look poleaxed because they can't tell the gross differences, not to mention the minor variations. And most are somewhere in the middle. But everyone comes away with a learning experience that sticks with them.

Then we do the "unveiling"----and there's almost always a chorus of gasps somewhere in there. For instance, when I include K-J in the mix, very few people ever identify it as K-J----because, most of those people admit, they have formed an image of K-J that hasn't applied in long time, but even though they've tasted K-J since then, the perceived image they've created has prevented them from appreciating (i.e., clearly seeing) the wine they've tasted.
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Re: Most over-oaked chard you can think of?

by Hoke » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:28 pm

Oh, addendum:

And it's interesting that it's usually the highest priced of the chardonnays that receives some of the worst comments/criticisms.

My theory there is that moderate priced wines are intended to please as many people, in as wide a range, as possible, and usually do that job pretty well. The mid-priced range show more variation, but still conform to certain 'acceptable' parameters. But it seems it's the high roller wines that achieve a certain distinctive individuality....at the cost of driving away those people wh objective to such a stylistic dominance of expression.

And extreme oakiness is nothing more, nor less, than imposing a personal style on a wine. People who are paying more money seem to value that more than a supremely balanced and harmonious wine.
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Sam Platt

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Re: Most over-oaked chard you can think of?

by Sam Platt » Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:15 pm

I know Mer Soleil used to be an abomination. Is it still?

Hoke,

We tasted a Mer Soleil Chardonnay in early April. I believe that it was an '04, and "yes" it was very oaky. In fact, it was almost not identifiable as Chardonnay. I do believe that they are now making an unoaked chard that I would like to try if I run across it.
Sam

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matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
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Robin Garr

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Re: Most over-oaked chard you can think of?

by Robin Garr » Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:34 am

Now that this excellent discussion has apparently peaked, I've moved it into Wine Focus, where it's a perfect fit with the month's theme. I'll "pin" it at the top of the page for a while, then let it drift. Meanwhile, feel free to add more to the discussion. :)
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Most over-oaked chard you can think of?

by Bill Spohn » Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:14 pm

Mondavi always stirred their Cards with a plank, buit I haven't had any recenty.

While I deplore popping a cork and inadvertently discovering a 'woodie', I think we should bear something in mind. I would not call a Chard that has a lot of oak to be ovr oaked IF, at some time in its development the fruit, acidity and oak all come into balance to produce an harmonious wine.

Which means that there will be some wines that are damned as being too oaky simply because the majority of people open them far too young - can't blame the winery for that.

OTOH, many have so much oak that the fruit will be long dead before that oak has abated so that even the most quercophilic tasters could enjoy it, and that is a perversion of winemaking.

Hoke - let us know how your tasting turns out. I'd second the Mer Soleil suggestion for an oaky example.
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Most over-oaked chard you can think of?

by Mark Lipton » Tue Sep 09, 2008 7:16 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:
OTOH, many have so much oak that the fruit will be long dead before that oak has abated so that even the most quercophilic tasters could enjoy it, and that is a perversion of winemaking.


Or, as others have put it, "They aren't overoaked; they're underfruited." There's some truth to that, though as a resident quercophobe I will only accept it in a small fraction of the examples offered.

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Sam Platt

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Re: Most over-oaked chard you can think of?

by Sam Platt » Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:47 pm

Now that this excellent discussion has apparently peaked, I've moved it into Wine Focus, where it's a perfect fit with the month's theme. I'll "pin" it at the top of the page for a while, then let it drift. Meanwhile, feel free to add more to the discussion.

So, Robin are you suggesting that my post was the beginning of the descent in the thread! I'll just take my keyboard and go home. :wink:
Sam

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matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
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Robin Garr

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Re: Most over-oaked chard you can think of?

by Robin Garr » Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:31 pm

Sam Platt wrote:So, Robin are you suggesting that my post was the beginning of the descent in the thread! I'll just take my keyboard and go home. :wink:

Cool it, Hoosier guy, or I'll start making jokes about Pi = 3.0 ... 8)
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D. Updike

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Re: Most over-oaked chard you can think of?

by D. Updike » Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:18 pm

Rombauer has been mentioned.......Flora Springs I remember being oaky, Cosentino as well.
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