Tag Archive | "chardonnay"

Lucas & Lewellen 07 Chard and 05 Cab Franc – Review

The connection to the movie sideways is undeniable – Lucas & Lewellen Winery had its Pinot Noir featured in the movie that destroyed merlot sales. L&L is a central-coast California winery whose founders, Louis Lucas and Royce Lewellen came together and bought some land in this fertile grape-growing region and have really done a lot to strike a claim for themselves as one of that region’s premiere wineries.

2005 Cabernet Franc: W.E.P. Rating: 40%

Technical Data:

 

  • Vineyard: Valley View
  • Composition: 100% Cabernet Franc
  • Oak: 19 Months French Oak
  • Fermentation: Punch down
  • Bottled: April 2007
  • Acidity: .70
  • pH: 3.69
  • Alcohol: 14.8%
  • Production: 605 Cases
  • Sugg. Retail: $26.00
  • Release Date: July 2008

 

 

Nose: I pick some some strong eucaplyptus and cedar box on the initial pass – almost like a cedar cigar box. There’s some hints of black fruit in there somewhere, however, I have a feelin it’s going to be overpowered by oak.

Taste: Can someone get me a friggin toothpick to pick out all the wood splinters here? I mean.. really? I get that this is a California wine and that a lot of folks are used to having a piece of oak furniture in the glass with their wine – but wow. I’m gonna let this hang out to see if some of the wood blows off from it. Two hours later – the oakiness of this wine is still rather pronounced – it’s not quite as strong; however, is still not doing much for me.

This wine is a complete:

 

 

2007 “Goodchild” Chardonnay – W.E.P. Rating: 75%

Technical Data:

  • Vineyard: Goodchild
  • Composition: 100% Chardonnay
  • Fermentation: Barrel
  • Oak: 100% French oak (30% new)
  • Bottled: July 2008
  • Acidity: 0.616
  • pH: 3.38
  • Alcohol: 14.4%
  • Production: 881 Cases
  • Sugg. Retail: $22.00
  • Release Date: September 2008

Nose: Pineapple, mango and peach skin – the classic vanilla hints on the nose as well. I also get subtleties of river-water stones. 

Taste: Take some pineapple, starfruit and mango – then toss in a tiny bit of butter and toasted vanilla – that’s what’s going on here. If you’re looking for a butterbomb napa charonnay, then this is not a wine for you – it’s rather crisp which shows it has little oak on ot. Good viscousness and acidity on the mouthfeel, decent fruit but a bit too hot on the backend for me.

Posted in Cabernet Franc, California Wines, Chardonnay, ReviewsComments (0)

Golden Kaan 05′ Chard & 07′ Sauv Blanc

Winery Link

Golden Kaan is the joint effort of KWV of South Africa and Racke of Germany – it’s now a global brand which pays homage to South Africa and has been getting some good press lately one some of its wines. Established in 1918, KWV has been a huge player in South African wine and has been a huge force in helping get that region “on the map” and palate of wine drinkers everywhere.


Click on image to enlarge

South Africa – as a region – has really ramped it up quite a bit over the past few years and I’ve found that many folks – like myself – can easily gravitate towards a lot of the white wines coming out of it.

There’s a good sense of overall minerality in this region which reminds me of some of the whites out of places like New Zealand – and I’m diggin’ that.


Click on image to enlarge

2007 Sauvignon Blanc: Price: $10 W.E.P. Score: 100%

Technical Notes:

  • Alcohol vol: 12.36 % vol
  • pH: 3.45
  • Total acidity: 5.61 g/ l
  • Sugar: 5.16 g/ l
  • Climate: Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters, of approximately 600–800 mm rain per annum.
  • Soil: Table Mountain sandstone and Malmesbury shale.

Nose: Mildew covered river rocks mixed with freshly-cut grass and grapefruit peel. I also pick up some cement dust and hints of apricots.

Taste: Excellent acidity/fruit combination that rips across the front and mid palate – It’s a judo-chop to the taste buds – exploding with mango and hints of kiwi and starfruit. Finishes VERY dry with little lemon drops and I’m digging that.

2005 Chardonnay: Price: $10 W.E.P. Score: 100%

Technical Notes:

  • Alcohol vol: 13.53%
  • pH: 3.50
  • Total acidity: 5.50 g/l
  • Sugar: 6.46 g/l
  • Climate: Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters, of approximately 600 – 800 mm or rain per year.
  • Soil: Table Mountain sandstone and Malmesbury shale.
  • Vinification: Full ripe grapes were crushed and the juice fermented in a combination of second fill French oak barrels and on French oak staves in stainless steel tanks. Lees contact of about 2 months were allowed.
  • Winemaker: Sterik deWet

Nose: Creamsickle component mixed in with some meyer apples and a bit of earthy minerals. Some nice floral components on the back-end of the nose help round it out – very pleasant. Ivory soap.

Taste: Very viscous mouth feel and a ton of apple coming thru which is quickly followed with lightly toasted nuts, grilled pineapple and hints of lime.

Overall Summary:
Each one of these wines brings a fun, fresh experience to their respective varieties and are wines I’d highly encourage you to seek out – you can usually find them for around the $8 mark thanks to industry post-off and retailer discounts etc.

Golden Kaan completely nailed the quality and experience these wines bring to the table – its low use of oak is always good as it helps keep the quality of the fruit dancing through on the palate.

For only $10, these are a couple of white’s i’d easily recommend to folks who are looking to get off the “Oak-bus-express” of overly oaked wines and want a good halfway-point to going to completely unoaked wines as their palate improves.

Foods I’d hit with these:
Shellfish
Sea Bass
Creamy Pastas
Clam Chowder
Roasted Chicken

Posted in Chardonnay, Reviews, Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa WinesComments (0)

2006 Columbia Crest Chardonnay – H3 and Grand Estates

Winery Link

Columbia Crest is – by many accounts – a tour de’ force of winemaking when it comes to tier-1 wineries who produce huge volumes and still keep snagging winning scores with wreckless abandon as if there’s no tomorrow.

It’s “yoda-like” winemaker, Ray Einberger, is a genius when it comes to proven know-how of producing award-winning wines at everyday prices most folks can easily afford. His entire line-up from the 2-vine up thru reserve have garnered wide acclaim for him and Columbia Crest as well as opening new doors for the Washington wine industry at large.

We decided to pair up their Grand Estates Chardonnay vs. their newly released H3 line – a wine which uses 100% Horse Heaven hills fruit to see how they stacked up.

2006 Grand Estates Chardonnay:

Technical Notes:

  • Vineyards • Columbia Valley
  • Harvest Date • September 8, 2006
  • Fermentation • 14 days, Premier Cuvée
  • Burgo Blanc, and Chanson yeasts
  • Alcohol • 13.5%
  • Total Acidity • 0.53 g/100ml
  • ph • 3.57
  • $8-$10

Vinification

  • Whole berry Chardonnay was pressed, and the juice was held at 50 degrees in stainless steel tanks for two days.
  • The settled juice was placed into a combination of new and one- to three-year-old American and French oak barrels.
  • After initial fermentation, the wine was re-inoculated to begin malolactic fermentation.
  • All barrels were hand stirred every week for nine months.
  • Blending occurred after a total of nine months in the barrel.

Nose: Toasty pineapple with a hint of grapefruit, orange zest, bosch pear and lemon.

Taste: Good fruit on the front end which lingers good across the mid palate, however, sharply tapers off a the end. Ripe green apple skins mixed with hints of creamy butter, creme brule

2006 H3 Chardonnay:

Technical Notes:

  • Vineyards: Horse Heaven Hills
  • Total acidity: 0.52 g/100ml
  • pH: 3.58
  • Alcohol: 13.6%
  • $12-$15

Vinification

  • Whole berry Chardonnay from select vineyards was pressed, the juice was held at 50 degrees in stainless steel tanks for two days.
  • 40% of the grapes were barrel fermented in new American and French oak, and 30% in older oak barrels to create complexity and maintain the fruit integrity.
  • 30% of the juice was fermented in stainless steel to retain the minerality and fruit-forward elegance of the fruit, characteristics unique to the Horse Heaven Hills region.
  • Various yeasts were used at fermentation; the wines were then inoculated for malolactic fermentation.
  • All barrels were hand-stirred weekly for six to nine months.
  • Blending occured pre-bottling.

Nose: Gooseberry laden apples and pears which have been lightly toasted over a camp-fire. Big time toasted creme on the nose here with hints of some tropical action in the form of coconut, passion fruit and vanilla.

Taste: Nice fruit on the front- creamy mouth-feel on the mid palate with a nice cleansing sensation of the tropical fruits and coconut coming through. Solid effort.. good fruit without being over-oaked… I’m feelin’ this wine… would go stellar with any cream-sauce-based pasta or pizza.

Overall summary:
Once again, I did this blind – having my son pour me each wine in two different glasses without telling me which one was which. All in all, both are a solid effort and represent their respective prices very well – however, if pressed, I’d have to go for the H3 over the Grand Estates all day long.

Kudos to the winemaking team at Columbia Crest for doing a fine job of respresenting our state and making truely tasteful wines very affordable.

-Duane Pemberton

W.E.P. Scale Rating for the Grand Estates: 90%

W.E.P. Scale Rating:for the H3: 100%

Posted in Chardonnay, Reviews, Washington WinesComments (0)

Jordan 2006 Chardonnay

Not to be at all confused with the infamous basketball player, Jordan winery was started by Tom Jordan in the Sonoma region of northern California back in 1972. Its owner has always held the ambition of making world-class wines from that region which would easily go toe-to-toe with the best in the world.

It’s that same spirit of drive that he and his winemaker, Rob Davis, share and try their best to have the wine they produce reflect that character. This was my first time with Jordan wines so I was – of course – delighted to check them out.

Statistics:
APPELLATION: 94.1% Russian River Valley / 5.9% Alexander Valley�
BLEND: 100% Chardonnay
PH: 3.38
ALCOHOL LEVEL: 13.5%
BOTTLING DATES: June 12 – June 28, 2007
OAK: 100% French for 5 months
TIME AGED Sur Lie: 2 months

Nose: Mineral-covered lemon drops backed up with hints of pear and some melon rine.. Some toasted nuts do lace the background, however, don’t dominate the fruit coming through.

Taste: Layers of starfruit and lemon drop with slight hints of toastiness.. This is a lightly-oaked chardonnay which really lets the full fruit still be the rock-star. Hints of key-lime pie..edlerberry.

Summary:
It’s a solid effort by Jordan, however, it’s nothing you can’t find in other Chardonnay’s below it’s pricetag. For $30, I’d rather have two bottles of Terra Blanca Chardonnay. If you can find this for around $20, I’d give it a go, however, at its price of $29, it just doesn’t have enough to win me over.

W.E.P. Scale Rating: 70%

Posted in California Wines, Chardonnay, ReviewsComments (0)

2004 Terra Blanca Estate Chardonnay

There was a time not too many years ago when I (like many of you) had a slogan of “A.B.C.” – anything but chard – and we can largely thank the state of California and its parade of over-oaked fanboys for that. chardonnay is a gorgeous grape which has been a staple around the world for centuries. There are many reasons for this, however, I think it’s because chardonnay one of the more approachable white grape varieties available by an overwhelming majority of both wine drinks and folks new to wine.

 

Thankfully, there are wineries out there who’ve heard the cries of us who’ve been stung by the over-oaked, over-saturated chardonnay’s and have aimed to put their grapes on less oak. This 2004 Estate-grown chardonnay from Terra Blanca is an excellent wine for well under $12 which means it’s very price-competitive to the over-oaked, “grocery brands” so many folks are buying.

TECHNICAL DATA
Harvest: Sugar – 22.3º Brix
Titratable Acidity – 0.75g/100ml
pH – 3.34
Bottle: Titratable Acidity – 0.72g/100ml
pH – 3.39
alcohol – 13.5% by volume
2004 Chardonnay
Red Mountain Estate Vineyard
100% CHARDONNAY

I emailed Terra Blanca’s Owner/Winemaker, Keith Pilgrim, about this chardonnay because I wasn’t picking up much oak at all and here was his reply:

Chardonnay is probably the varietal that the styles produced on the west coast from Washington to California have changed or evolved more than any other wine.  When we made our first estate Chardonnay in 1997 from grapes planted on the only slightly cooler spot on our Red Mountain site (it slopes slightly to the east and north rather than south and west as the rest of the property does) the wine was 100% barrel fermented in all French oak with about 40% of the barrels being new and the remainder 1 to 3 years old and the wine was 100% ML. 

At the time the market was hung up on 200% new oak Chardonnays that you needed a chainsaw rather than a glass to get through.  Ever since that first vintage we have been slowly reducing the oak profile of the wines, first through selection of French coopers that imparted less vanilla and butter flavors and selection of ML bugs that produced very little of the butter flavor.  By 2000 we were starting to ferment part of our Chardonnay in stainless then blending the stainless and barrel fermented fractions to complete the wine.  We have continued to lessen the oak impact on our estate Chardonnay and the 2004 vintage represents 50% stainless fermentation with no ML blended with 50% barrel fermented in all French oak barrels from 5 different coopers (down from about a dozen) with 100% ML, of which 1/3 of the barrels were new. 

But that’s not the whole story, we have also sorted the coopers for the barrels to those that produce more mineral, flint and toasty flavors, eliminating those that were more dominate vanilla and butter flavors, the result is wine that shows more of the red apple and tropical flavors supported by mineral and and slight toasty notes.  Our estate Chardonnay has continued down the same trend and is now 65% tank fermented with no ML and 35% barrel fermented with 100% ML and about 30% new French Oak from 2 coopers (the majority of the barrels are Latour).  We also have continued to make a small lot of Chardonnay from the same fruit that is called Block 5 Chardonnay and uses 100% new oak (all Latour barrels) that produces an almost Chablis like mineral flavor with some toasty notes on the finish.  Prior to the 2004 Chardonnay releases, most guests would assume that the estate Chardonnay with at the time almost half stainless and the remainder less than 50% new oak to show more oak than the Block 5 Chardonnay which has always been 100% new oak, but all the more minerally Latour French Oak barrels (aka Chateau Latour, they make there own barrels and sell a small number on allocation).

If you’re one of those Kendall Jackson-type folk – I do beleive there is professional help available now to help get that oak-plank off your tongue.

Nose: Grapefruit skin, apple, pear, toasted marshmellow, elderberry, fresh pea gravel.

Taste: A slight toasted nuts component, hint if kiwi, pistachio, lemons, slight butter with obvious tropical fruits and light spice on the finish.

Summary:
Keith nailed this wine – it’s an excellent bridge-wine for those who need to stop with the Kendall Jackson B.S. and get with the program. It’ll still have some of the toastiness those folks think they like yet introduce them to much more of the gorgeous fruit flavors of the chardonnay grape.

If you love chardonnay, buy more of the budgeted wines and want to taste some excellent fruit from Red Mountain, then go out today and snag a bottle or two of this wine.

This is my opinion, however, you really need to try this wine and form your own – remember, it’s all about embracing your own palate, not mine.

I’d easily pair this with the following foods:- Shrimp scampi
- Classic Ceasar salad
- Dried fruits with stinky cheeses and nuts
- Chicken parmesan
- Fetucinni Alfredo

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