Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Region: Russian River Valley, CA
Cost: $18 SRP
Winemaker’s Notes: The Chardonnay showcases hints of vanilla and bright fresh pair, butter flavors in full-bodied format, with a long clean finish. Pair with broiled pork chops and applesauce.
My Review: Oaked chardonnay is always a touchy subject in my house; when it’s done well, I very much enjoy it. My wife, however, isn’t really a fan (for years she thought she just didn’t like chardonnay), with even a little time in an oak barrel being enough to ruin the grape for her.
So, on a weekend at home (following a week at home….and several more before and after it), I did the only reasonable thing—opened the wine without her.
Light straw yellow in color with hints of green, the wine was lighter than I thought it would be given that it had spent time in oak. The wine was fermented in oak barrels and stainless steel tanks, with sur lie aging on barrel fermented lots, which may be why the wine wasn’t as dark as I was anticipating.
On the nose I picked up aromas of pear, apple, and oak, while in the mouth I got vanilla and pear, with round butter notes on the finish. While I don’t know that I’d call it a “clean” finish, it also didn’t overly linger, which was pleasant.
I paired the wine with Pinchos Morunos (here’s the recipe I use), and while it wasn’t a bad pairing, I think a crisper wine with more acid would have been a better pairing. Herb pork would likely have paired better with the wine.
Overall I didn’t dislike the wine, but I don’t know that it’s one that I’ll rush out for again either. While fairly well balanced, it’s honestly hard for me to justify buying wines that my wife won’t share with me. With the right pairing this could be an enjoyable wine, and as a party option I think it could be good since the oak is balanced, but if you prefer crisper wines, this won’t suit you.
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.