Category Archives: Chardonnay

New Project Yields Profound Wine

It’s not often a wine made in California strikes me as “profound.” Don’t get me wrong, the Golden State makes delicious wines. The usually reliable climate in most of California’s winemaking regions leads to steady ripening and big, full-bodied, fruit forward wines. But for a young California wine to remind me of experiences I’ve occasionally had with old Barolo or mature white Burgundy? Those rare moments of awe when you sit in silence with a wine, sensing secrets and mysteries embedded there along with the sublime pleasure one is experiencing. That, for me, is an encounter with something profound.
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Grocery Store Chardonnay Project

Findings include:
• Very drinkable (86 to 87 point) wines can be obtained for as low as $7-9
• While high QPR (quality price ratio) wines can be found at virtually all price points, the highest rated wines (92 and 91+ points) can be found at the $15-20, $20-25 and $30-and-above price ranges
• The $26-30 range contains surprisingly few highly rated wines
• Three U.S. wine firms are responsible for nearly 17% of these wines, and the top eight wine firms own over 37% of these labels
• Nearly 16% of these grocery store Chardonnays exhibited relatively high residual sugar (sweetness)
• Less than 14% of these wines were bottled under screwcap
• 6% of the wines were affected by TCA and/or oxidation Continue reading

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Sta. Rita Hills: Top Choices from One of California’s Greatest Sites

The cool climate, super long growing season and largely poor soils here facilitate the production of wines that potentially “have it all”: weight, body, richness, minerality and scintillating acidity. Winemakers elsewhere around the world would kill to have this combination of favorable conditions, making it possible to produce fine wines in just about any style a winemaker wants. Continue reading

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Grand Daddy of California Wine Events: Family Winemakers San Francisco

The major stars of the tasting for me, with strong lineups overall and one or more wines rating 93 points or higher, were Bien Nacido, Benovia, Chateau Montelena, Grgich Hills, Herb Lamb, Kaena, Keenan, Ladera, Lagier Meredith, Lamborn Family, L’Aventure, Ottimino, Paloma, Saxon Brown, Seavey, Thomas Fogarty and Vino Noceto. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Paso Robles, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Zinfandel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

West Sonoma Coast: Distinctive, Cool Climate Pinot, Chardonnay & Syrah

West of West is the early August weekend wine festival devoted to wines made from grapes farmed on the far western coastline of Sonoma County. This year was the event’s third outing, and it was based in an ideal new location: Sebastopol’s spacious Barlow Event Center. All in all, it was one of the most enjoyable and well organized regionally focused wine events I’ve ever attended. Continue reading

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California Chardonnay Entering Its Golden Age?

A number of Golden State Chardonnays I’ve sampled in recent months has me thinking there are now a host of appealing, balanced and complex California Chardonnays available. Hallelujah! Maybe California’s most widely planted grape has at last entered its golden era. Continue reading

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Australian Wine: Rebooting a Brand

This was an exciting sampling that included many characterful and intensely flavored but balanced wines. Wines like those from BK Wines, First Drop, Ochota Barrels and Sami-Odi had singular and distinct “voices” that made me want to hear a lot more from those producers. Judging not only from my reaction but the general buzz in the room and discussions with colleagues afterwards, I think this event went a long way toward initiating the process of rebranding Aussie wines in this country. Continue reading

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