Chardonnay has been on my mind ever since our recent – and very enjoyable, I would add – Chablis tasting. By volume, Chardonnay is the most popular wine in the world. It is an adaptable grape and grown just about everywhere, but many wine drinkers associate California with the varietal. For a long time I thought that was unfortunate, since California is not only responsible for a jug wine by the name of “Chablis”, but also big, oaky, overly-manipulated wines. I started to look for examples that would challenge these characterizations. Luckily, I quickly found two from California’s cooler winemaking regions, making this week’s Wine of the Week is a two-for.
2007 Clos Du Val (Carneros)
Medium golden yellow. Melting butter, dried apricots, and toast make for an enticing nose. The butteriness continues on the palate, but with green apple and pear added in. While this wine has a rich viscosity, it is balanced by crisp acidity that prevents it from being weighed down. A long-lasting, pleasant finish.
At New Hampshire State Liquor Stores for $19.99 (sale).
2009 Santa Barbara Collection (Los Alamos)
Pale yellow with tinges of green. The nose has a clean fruitiness: citrus, pineapple, and pear. The palate shows some vanilla and toast oakiness, but it plays a supporting role to the fruit. The flavors are well-integrated. Refreshing, lively acidity helps to give this wine a fairly long finish. A nice surprise for the price, this wine would be a crowd-pleaser.
At Julio’s Liquors for $12.99.