6 Chardonnays to enjoy on International Chardonnay Day (May 25th)
Every dog has its day. If Chardonnay-based wines get your tail waggin’, then May 25th is your day, dawg! The 2017 incarnation of International Chardonnay Day arrives this Thursday, after the two-four weekend. From unoaked to barrel-fermented/aged, moderately-priced to bank-busting, there’s a plethora of styles to choose from. Here are a few that have recently passed my palate. You won’t really go wrong with any of them.
Fleur du Cap Chardonnay 2015
Probably one of the best “bang-for-the-buck” Chardonnays out there, this South African number delivers a lot without going over the top.Tropical fruit and citrus aromas with some butterscotch and baked apple to boot. Very well balanced with crisp lemon flavours combined with clove and apple. Good length.
Fat Bastard Chardonnay 2015
From the land of the original Chardonnay, this French number sports a lively perfume redolent of MacIntosh apple, peach, buttered toast and a subtle whiff of popcorn. With a fairly “fat” but certainly not flabby profile – it has a pretty racy spine of acidity – it’s a nicely balanced mouthful, with typical applesauce, pear and lemon pie flavours. Zippy finish.
Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2015
From sunny Sonoma, K-J’s offers up buttery, toasted nut, and lemon rind nuances on the nose, with a dollop of sweet vanilla/oak and baking spice. Lush and rich on the palate, there are suggestions of toasted hazelnut and crème brûlée along with a mild spiciness.
Tom Gore Vineyards Chardonnay 2014
This TGV number expresses a textbook Cali Chardonnay aromatic profile, with buttery/toasty oak, ripe pear, vanilla and sweet pear segueing into a rich though not overly heavy structure that offers balance and elegance along with ripeness, moderate spice and a long finish.
La Crema Chardonnay 2015
From California’s Monterey County comes this alway reliable Chardonnay. It’s exceedingly fragrant and rather complex. Caramel corn, browned butter, tropical fruit and nougat all find there way out of the glass and up your nose. Just as appealing in the mouth, where buttered nuts, pineapple, vanilla custard and sweet oak blend together seamlessly before making a long, memorable exit.
Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Reserve 2014
The cool Carneros district straddles both Napa and Sonoma and supplies the perfect conditions for ripening Chardonnay grapes. Fruit for this delicious Chardonnay was sourced from the Hyde and Madonna ranches, and-harvested in the early morning to retain crisp acidity. Following a gentle pressing, the juice was slow, cool, natural yeast fermentation in Burgundian style barrels. This is a powerful, richly layered and complex Chardonnay, with flavours and aromas suggesting coconut, Asian pear, baking spice, vanilla bean, a hint of smoke and mineral. Powerful for sure, but also balanced and refined.
Let’s not forget the contributions our local winemakers are making to the global Chardonnay footprint.
Winemaker Ann Sperling from Southbrook Vineyards dropped by my place (talk about great service) to taste some of her latest creations with myself and Quench writer-at-large Silvana Lau. A leader in organic and biodynamic winemaking, Southbrook is a LEED Gold Certified operation that is basically as “green” as you can get.
We worked our way through a range of red, white and an interesting, rather funky “orange” wine. Chardonnays included the white flower blossom-tinged 2015 Seriously Cool Chardonnay, with it’s crisp, zesty, green apple and mineral flavours; the more decadent, melted butter, peach compote-scented 2015 Triomphe Chardonnay, with its creamy texture, rich stone fruit flavours and long caramel-tinged finish; and the 2013 Poetica Chardonnay, the fruit for which was hand-harvested from the estate’s organic and biodynamic vineyards. Rich and dense, it offered aromas of fresh biscuit, toasted almond, hard toffee, and a subtle minerality, all of which reappeared in the mouth in a full, ripe, complex and multi-layered package that tailed off into a long, juicy finish.