Thursday, June 4, 2015

Winey Tasting Notes: A Trio of Chardonnays

Every once in a while I take a trip through my wine journal - because it's fun and also because I need to plan out my reviews. I don't review every wine I try. There are times when I just want to drink a glass of wine without all the note-taking and sniffing and swirling, so I may note the name of the wine and it's vintage, but that's it. Some wines I have every intention of reviewing but they turn out to be just okay. Not bad, not great.....just good. (I think it's easier to write about a really good wine or a really icky wine than those that fall in that in-between category.) And some I just don't get around to doing right away, so they sort of pile up until I decide it's time to bring them out of the pages of my journal.

That's exactly the case with these Chardonnays. I was flipping through the pages and realized that I had a trio of them waiting to be written up, so I decided that I'd do it all up in one review:

Cave de Lugny La Côte Blanche Chardonnay (Mâcon-Villages) (2013, 12.5%, Macon-Villages, Burgundy, France) is 100% Chardonnay. White wine grown in Burgundy is also called White Burgundy (or Bourgogne Blanc if you want to get fancy). It costs around $10 here in the US. It's got a nose of pear and apple and tastes of pear and red apple. I was trying to consciously sample some more French whites, so I was glad to find this one for the price. It's not aged in oak, which is pretty common in Burgundy, so you don't get the oak flavors with the pear. You don't get much of anything with it actually...and I kept waiting for more flavor from this. Not that it was was just not anything: not oakey, no minerals, no big flavors, not much of a mouth feel. 

Alexander & Fitch Chardonnay (2013, 13.4%, Sonoma, California). I found this white at Trader Joe's for $8.99. The bouquet was all pear and I could totally taste the pear upon first sip. There were also flavors of nutmeg - a nice spicy touch - and some medium oak, which really shined in this wine. It ended up with a finish of sour apple and sour oak and felt nice and round in my mouth.  I liked this wine a lot - and with the price, well, it's a nice go-to Chardonnay.

Dark Horse Chardonnay (2013, 13.5%, California). I bought this wine at a local store for $9.99. The Dark Horse line has a number of other varietals, and I after sipping this Chardonnay, I'm going to try them. This was the best of the bunch of these three Chardonnays. A bright gold color, with a nose of apricot and golden apples. The taste was mellow pear, yellow apple, vanilla and some cinnamon rounded off with a touch of oak. This is a really solid Chardonnay for a great price. I'd describe it as "flavorful," which is what I love about a good white wine - a range of flavors with that lovely feel of smooth roundness in the mouth. 

If you like spicier oak tinged Chardonnay, go with the Alexander & Fitch. If you like a traditional Chardonnay with a lovely balance between the fruit and oak flavors, go for the Dark Horse. I'm not sure what to tell you about the Cave de Lugny...maybe try it and judge for yourself! 


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