Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: Trying To Get Happy With 2009 Project Happiness Chardonnay

It was a tough assignment for any wine, I'll fully admit that. Here's how it started:

January. Northeast Ohio. Those of you from this area will need no further explanation. For you foreigners, imagine if you will the color gray. Gray skies. Gray slush. Gray trees. Gray air. Gray hairs (oh, wait, that's another issue...but it still contributed to it). Yup, it was January in Cleveland. The Christmas lights had come down. The presents had been put away or exchanged (literally: my hubby and his mom each bought the other a book that the giftee already they kept the books they bought for each other for themselves!). The dog had begun her "continuously muddy paws" season thanks to the horrid cycle of rain, mud, snow, repeat. My first baby was back at college and my second was deep into the grumpiness of high school final exams. Blah. Blah. Blah. (And by that I mean that blah was pretty much everybody's mood.)

And there I was, wandering the aisles of Trader Joe's, trying to find something new to feed the family for dinner. And there it was. Smiling at me from the Chardonnay shelf (no, I don't normally look for dinner on the Chardonnay shelf...but I did say wandering, okay?)

Yup, a big old smiley face. The kind that speaks to a Mom of my years in a voice that says, "You wore me on a shirt in Junior High, didn't you?" I did. And it was smiling...and it was cute and retro and I thought for once: happiness in a bottle. And it was $5.99!

Turns out that's what the folks at Oreana Winery had in mind when they made this wine. They began pondering what makes people happy? They came up with some of the usual ideas: marriage, having kids, getting your boss fired. But, duh...they were winemakers, so in the end they went with happiness in a bottle.

Project Happiness Chardonnay (2009, 13.8%, Creston, CA) is a dark golden color that gave off whiffs of pear and oak and little white wine vinegar tang. Promising. And then I poured it. OK, a bit heavy on the legs here. Thick-ish. Hmm.... Not being one to give up, I sipped. Tasted oak, pear and apple...but the fruits were kind of overpowered by the oak taste. And then the finish hit me and my one thought was: sour. As in sour fruit. Not a sour apple martini thing...this was just .. sour. And to top it all off, it was thick. I don't like thick. I get enough thick here right now when I trudge through thick snow and put on thick socks and thick sweaters. I do NOT care for it in my wine.

Maybe it was just too much pressure to put on a drink, even if that drink is WINE. Happiness, in winter in Cleveland? You might was well ask the Browns to win the.....never mind.

I will say that if you like your Chardonnay oakey and full bodied, you may very well find happiness in this bottle. I however, will soldier on and try to find it somewhere else. Like the sale rack at Nordstrom. Or the Travel Channel. Or both.


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