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JC (NC)

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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by JC (NC) » Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:09 pm

WTN: Two Cali Chards
2004 Bouchaine Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa Valley, Ca
Estate Chardonnay
13.5% alcohol Synthetic cork? Family-owned winery.
Can be found on wine-searcher for under $20 or up to higher $20's.
Among the southernmost plantings in the Napa Valley's Carneros Region and encompasses the highest landmark terraces in the Carneros district (resulting in a cool-climate Chard?)
Pale gold rather than pale straw color. Leaves legs on the side of the glass. A not unpleasant waxy lemon sensation on the palate with a hint of vanillin. A little creamier than I recalled from the previous bottle but not out-and-out buttery. Can see this with crab or lobster and also with buttered popcorn. Nice match to sweet corn-on-the-cob. I find this attractive and not overoaked.

(The following vintage, 2005) was rated 90 by "Wine Enthusiast" with the following note: "Nice, dry and complex, a crisp wine with quite a lot of minerality undergirding the fruit and oak. Feels fine and balanced in the mouth and should take a couple years in the cellar." The 2004 I had may not be quite as mineral or crisp but I still enjoyed it.

2005 Markham Chardonnay, Napa Valley, CA (owned by Mercian, a Japanese wine and spirits company, some connection to Paterno? or is that outdated info)
Paid $19.49 before tax at Grapes and Hops in Fayetteville, NC.
13.8% alcohol
40% of the juice goes through secondary fermentation according to winemaker Kim Nicholls who was at a Markham Vineyards Wine Dinner in Raleigh last February.
13.8% alcohol
Color slightly deeper than the Bouchaine Chardonnay although the wine is a year younger. Taste is also slightly more layered, exhibiting an extra bit of depth. Apple-clove taste sensations along with faint pear. Some toasty oak in the background?--not overpowering. A ginger nuance also. Despite seeming more layered (and less creamy) than the Bouchaine, I prefer the Bouchaine.

I have one more Cal Chard to try (and one more domestic Chard for which I don't have high expecations)--then I will try at least one white Burgundy before abandoning Chardonnay for a time and going on to other varieties.
Last edited by JC (NC) on Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:00 pm

Those are some nice notes JC. The Markham does not seem quite my cup of tea either!! Look forward to some other TNs.
I have an Oz chard lined up then the famous Naked from 4 Vines!!
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Tim York

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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Tim York » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:07 am

RULLY 1er CRU « GRESIGNY » AOC 2004 – Paul Jacqueson, « En Chévremont » à Rully – 100% Chardonnay – 13% Alc.- EUR 16 approx.

Very nice. C : Medium deep yellow. N: Expressive with fresh white fruit, nuts and mineral notes with hints of coconut in the background. P: Freshly tasty, round and quite long with good acidity and “gras” with finesse and a harmonious mix of similar aromas to those on the nose. Wood derived notes may be too much for a certified quercophobe but I thought that they were unobtrusive and contributed complexity. (From the days when Jacqueson father was a regular visitor to Belgium, I recall that his saying that he used about 25% new barrels.)

There was some sediment at the bottom of the bottle which, for me, is a sign of good natural ingredients but for which the back label feels the need to offer a mild apology, viz. - " in no way damaging the qualities of the wine".

Jacqueson is an excellent source of dependable and reasonably priced white burgundy and his reds from Pinot Noir (e.g. Rully 1er cru Les Cloux ) are pretty good too and well worth seeking out. The whites age quite well and with time acquire more complexity and more pronounced nutty notes. I finished the 96s about a year ago and they were still excellent with no oxidization and the 99s are drinking very well at present.

Other excellent producers in the Chalonnais are Domaine Joblot and Domaine François Lumpp, both from Givry and with a slightly more refined style at least in their reds, and Domaine Vincent Dureuil-Janthial from Rully with a more lush style quite close to Meursault in his whites.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:28 am

Thanks for guiding us around this one. Very expressive notes there Tim, I feel we should all try to look around for chardonnays such as this one. Price might be a barrier in my area but feel sure there are some good deals down south of me!!
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Bruce Hayes

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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Bruce Hayes » Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:02 pm

Castello Di Pomino 2006
DOC Pomino Bianco
A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. From Frescobaldi.

Light golden yellow color.

Spicy, citrusy nose.

Very tangy, peppery, fairly big and rich, juicy and fleshy lemon, orange and grapefruit, sweet vanilla. The oak is obvious but, unlike so many other wines, it remains in balance, serving as one of many flavour components, rather than dominating-obliterating everything else.

Fleshy ruby grapefruit on the long finish.

Purchased at $18.95 (Canadian).

I found I was much more impressed with this bottle than I had been with an earlier bottle of the same vintage.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:08 pm

This is another wine many look at on the shelf and then visit elsewhere!! Thanks for the post Bruce, interesting thread eh. I have just opened a chardonnay from Mclaren Vale...no oak, no vanilla!!!

Have to ask, any albarino out your way?
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Brian K Miller » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:53 am

Just had a modestly priced Spanish (Catalan) Chardonnay tonight that I really enjoyed as a light summer quaffer.

Torres Gran Vina Sol 2005

About $15 at Wine Styles. Here's a Briitish description and source, too: http://secure.weaverswines.com/product_ ... de=ESTOR02

A pretty clear golden color in the glass. Very crisp on the palette, with a mixture of peaches and pear and tropical fruit. Very crisp and clean-I don't think there is any oak here. Delicious. Not profound, but very enjoyable. Solid 3*+
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JC (NC)

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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by JC (NC) » Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:01 am

I opened a 2000 Sonoma County Chardonnay that was over-the-hill and partly oxidized--down the drain. Moving on to a Puligny-Montrachet, also 2000. Hope I have better luck with it.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:40 pm

WTN: `04 Chardonnay Tapestry, McLaren Vale Australia.

SC, 13.5% alc, no malo, 9 months in oak, $22 Cdn. Winemaker is Jonathon Kitley, winery known for a very good shiraz amongst other wines.

Colour. Medium lemon, nice sparkle here.

Nose. Served blind one would guess chard straight off! Very appealing, hint of sulphur (?) quickly blows off. Melon,peach to forefront amongst other chard aromas.

Palate. Very good acidity, really comes around as it warms up. "Lot more here than fruit salad" was a table comment. Medium bodied, melon, apple, peach. Bright lemony edge on the finish, just a hint of leesy creamy overtones. Good grip and found some marshmallow after 2 hrs. Very nice wine but many out there like this.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by JC (NC) » Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:47 am

WTN: 2000 Jean-Philippe Fichet Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Referts"
Burgundy, France

13% alcohol
Cork broke but I was able to extract it without much crumbling.
Medium gold color with brassy tinge.
If the fruit aromas were a little hard to pin down, the first sip was overwhelmingly identifiable as juicy apple. Backed up by a light touch of French oak, this makes for a pleasing and rather versatile dinner wine. Would be nice with roast pork with cooked apple slices or applesauce (which is what I prepared for the second evening.) For some contrast, try with chicken Veronique or maybe a Waldorf salad. A dry wine but not one causing puckering. Best on the first evening opened.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Tim York » Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:27 pm

Viré-Clessé AOC « L’Epinet » 2002 – Jean Rijckaert, Vigneron à Leynes.

C : Medium yellow. N: Well developed, integrated and attractive showing floral, “sweet” white fruit and mineral notes. P: Medium weight, harmonious and well focused with good length, appealingly fresh acidity and minerality balanced by good fruit and flesh (“gras”) and similar aromas to the nose plus a touch of honey on the finish. A very attractive but unpretentious wine.

This is an excellent example of what a lesser appellation from the Mâconnais can deliver in good hands. Jean Rijckaert is Belgian and was for a time partner to the controversial Jean-Marie Guffens. They separated because of professional disagreement and Rijckaert now has his own domaine, which produces some wine from his own estate and others from bought in grapes. His style of his wines is somewhat austere in their youth but they are always well focused and show good minerality and acid balance, which pay dividends with a little time. This wine was, I think, sourced from bought in grapes as the mention on the label “Vinifié, élévé et mis en bouteilles par Rijckaert” implies. From Rijckaert’s regular visits to Belgium, I recall him saying that on average his wines see some 20% new oak, less on the basic wines and more on the richer. In some other of his wines I have found that this has led to slight but, to me, unwelcome malt notes on the finish but there were none here.

There is a branch of the Rijckaert business in the Jura region and the wines from there are also excellent in a style which is less oxidative than traditional in that region. He also produces some good wines from the lesser appellations of the Côte d’Or, such as Saint-Aubin and Santenay - usually good QPR compared with the more famous appellations.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by JC (NC) » Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:48 pm

Thanks for the information on the producer. I think I have seen the name on wine lists or wine shop catalogs before and will now purchase with a little added confidence.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:24 pm

Yeah, me too. Thanks Tim for a very informative post!
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Brian K Miller » Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:06 am

Oh No! One of my favorite wineries falls flat:

Hess Collection 2004 Napa Valley Chardonnay. Obtained from winery, then stored cold.

Golden color with a hint of brassy notes. Definitely a high oak wine, which is not my preference, but I can sometimes appreciate the better ones. Alas, this bottle, at least, was not one of the better ones. To sum it up in one phrase: harsh, metallic, and caramelly. Just an unpleasant wine to my palette. It did become more drinkable as it warmed in the glass, but it never came together. I wonder if this is just a bad bottle-it got good reviews from all the usual suspects. Very strange wine. 1/2*

MY coworker who shared the bottle with me liked it better (he said 3*!) His wife, who arrived late and whose taste I trust, agreed with me. :lol:

Oh well. Not a total loss. We watched the end of Alien vs. Predator, my friend installed a new bottom bracket in my road bike, and we gossiped about coworkers. A nice evening.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:27 am

Thats a pity Brian as you must have been looking forward to opening. Bad bottle seems right to me but straight from the winery? Thread still going strong, thats nice. Drouhin St. Veran this weekend for me.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Brian K Miller » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:27 pm

Yeah. A 2004 American Chardonnay is getting on in years, no? But-it was better stored than too many of my wines, and I've pnly had it a couple of months, so...the curse of bottle variation-or just not to my palette?
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by JC (NC) » Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:30 pm

Hard to say, Brian. It may have been an off bottle but then again maybe just not the style you prefer. I generally like Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon but lack experience with the Chardonnay.
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James Dietz

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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by James Dietz » Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:43 pm

Brian K Miller wrote:Yeah. A 2004 American Chardonnay is getting on in years, no? But-it was better stored than too many of my wines, and I've pnly had it a couple of months, so...the curse of bottle variation-or just not to my palette?


Not sure if you are joking when you say that a 2004 US Chard is old... last night we drank a 2000 Mt. Eden that was amazingly youthful and fresh.. and over the last year I have had numerous bottles of 2000 Aracadian Chard that have been fabulous....I could list others as old and older... so...
Cheers, Jim
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Brian K Miller » Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:17 pm

Not too serious, but given how young the American wineries release Chards.....? 8)
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:50 am

Mark Lipton wrote:
Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Good thread Richard. I am having a "sort out butterfly sample day" (have to get these to the U of A) but thoughts can wander and I anticipate some great discussions here. Wide ranging area naturally, think a nicely oaked (Calif) version might be a good start but guess those "get-to-Macon" types will be here soon! Would Markham, Sterling or Four Vines be a good start?


Well, Dale did just post a note on an '05 Macon-Village. I'll add my own note about an '05 Maconnais (of a sort):

2005 Joseph Drouhin St. Véran
nose: minerals, pineapple, a hint of oak
palate: medium body, crisp, pineapple, good acidity

I bought this to see what a good producer like Drouhin could do in a good year like '05 in a region like St. Véran. This is Chardonnay from a region that straddles the Maconnais and Beaujolais, and as such is a cheap and potentially good white Burgundy. In this case, I was quite pleased. It had some of the character I look for in Chablis, without the lemony fruit that I usually find there. It was a bit rounder than Chablis but that might reflect year as much as region. Very nice for $13 and a decent match to my thrown-together linguine with white clam sauce for the final dinner of our vacation in Michigan.


Bumping up your St Veran mark as I have just opened the `06. Need to let it breathe a bit.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Bruce Hayes » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:10 pm

Henry of Pelham Non-Oaked Chardonnay 2006
VQA Ontario


Medium gold color.

Something wrong here: very tart and peppery, lemon, bitter grapefruit rind toward the finish. Very sharp and acidic.

Bitter grapefruit finish.

The wine did calm down somewhat with time, but remained quite tart and bitter. Very disappointing.

This is the first time I have been disappointed with a wine from Henry of Pelham, so am thinking (hoping) it was a bad bottle.
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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Mark Lipton » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:12 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:
Bumping up your St Veran mark as I have just opened the `06. Need to let it breathe a bit.


Well...??? Inquiring minds, and all that :D

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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Howie Hart » Sat Aug 25, 2007 1:24 pm

Bruce Hayes wrote:Henry of Pelham Non-Oaked Chardonnay 2006
VQA Ontario


Medium gold color.

Something wrong here: very tart and peppery, lemon, bitter grapefruit rind toward the finish. Very sharp and acidic.

Bitter grapefruit finish.

The wine did calm down somewhat with time, but remained quite tart and bitter. Very disappointing.

This is the first time I have been disappointed with a wine from Henry of Pelham, so am thinking (hoping) it was a bad bottle.

Bruce - I doubt if it's a bad bottle. 2006 was a very tough year in the area. Not only was there constant rain during September, but much of the area was blanketed by a heavy snowfall on October 13.
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Tim York

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Re: Open Mike: Chardonnay

by Tim York » Sat Aug 25, 2007 4:21 pm

Wijnkasteel Genoels-Elderen Chardonnay Blauw 2003 AOC Haspengouw - 13% alc. – EUR 17 (Semi-fermented and aged in French oak barrels.)

I bet none of you guys have ever had this Belgian Chardonnay before and most have probably never even heard of it. (“Blauw”= blue refers to the colour of the label not to some exotic Chardonnay clone.)

C: Quite pale. N: Intriguingly complex with notes of gentle flowers, white fruit and a touch of meat and tobacco. P: At first I found it somewhat narrow and short, but remembering that my previous wine was that extraordinarily broad and long Sercial Madeira, I quickly needed to recalibrate my palate. Then the wine emerged as more than acceptably mouth-filling and long with good body, fruit, aromatics and burnished richness offset by good acidity and minerality for the year. There were just a few buttery notes but no malt or caramel. Very enjoyable in broadly the same price bracket, and therefore quite acceptable in QPR terms, as the Rully and Viré-Clessé, which I reported on enthusiastically a few days ago.

I first heard of this estate at a Languedoc winery from a party of French television journalists who were making films about a number of wine estates. They admitted to being very impressed which is quite a recommendation from Frenchmen about non-French, and especially Belgian, wine. In the last three years or so, I have attended the tastings of an importer of Italian wines at the kasteel and also took the opportunity of tasting the kasteel owner’s own wines.

In earlier vintages I have found Blauw quite acidic in sip and spit conditions, especially in the context of the surrounding Italian wines, but I guessed that they would come into balance with seafood. (Of course, strong innate acidity is rarely a problem with a 2003.) There is a more ambitious Chardonnay cuvée, Goud = gold, which is richer and more concentrated but also quite oaky at the age at which I have tried it (costing more than EUR 30!) and also a good Pinot Noir (in 2002), but current cuvées of this are offered in Brussels for EUR28!, below which price there are many better buys from Burgundy and elsewhere.

The estate is located in the East of Belgium about 20 km north of Liège and just north of Belgium’s language frontier between Tongeren and Maastricht in the Netherlands. The kasteel is a beautifully proportioned building and the grounds are superb. The back label indicates a website http://www.wijnkasteel.com .
Tim York
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