Dec 21 2012

Franciscan Estate Chardonnay 2011

2011 Franciscan Estate Chardonnay

Varietal:  100% Chardonnay
Region:  Napa Valley, California – USA
Cost:  $18 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes:  Pale yellow in color with inviting aromas of citrus. Golden Delicious apple, vanilla, and subtle spice from the toasted oak draw you in. Delicate mineral and lemon-lime are hidden behind star jasmine and honeysuckle notes. On the palate the wine is fresh, vibrant, and complex with flavors of pear tart, apple, and lemon. The finish is round yet crisp, with a silky mouthfeel and hints of flinty mineral, vanilla cream, and honeydew melon lingering on the persistent finish.

My Review:  Chardonnay is always a hit or miss prospect in my house, mostly because of my wife’s general dislike for oaked Chardonnay. Because of that when I have a bottle of Chardonnay that’s spent time on oak, there’s always a moment of hesitation to see whether or not she likes it before we proceed to far. Fortunately, this was one that she seemed to like well enough, which always helps a wine in my eyes.

The wine was just slightly darker than pale with hints of gold in the glass. On the nose I picked up subtle citrus notes and vanilla with some toast coming through at the very end. In the mouth I got more of the toast and vanilla with pear and lemon being the most noticeable fruit notes.

While the wine has seen oak, it was seven months sur lie in small French and American oak barrels, 20% of which were new oak. Because of that there’s that stereotypical cream note you get from oaked Chardonnay, but it’s not overwhelming, rounding the wine more than dominating it. Because of that, even my wife liked it, and it make the wine a good pairing for food or to just sip on.

For the price the wine is a good value, it’s versatile thanks to the time it spent in oak while retaining some of the crispness of a steel Chardonnay, and as we inch our way closer to the holidays it’s definitely one I would recommend as an option for a white wine to put out for parties or dinners that will suit a wide range of pairings and palates.

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