$25, 14.1% alc.: This producer has been getting more and more hype lately and a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay force to be reckoned wit’, which happens to a lot of wineries over time, but this one in particular caught my eye because my man Gary Vaynerchuk over at the daily grape www.dailygrape.com reviewed it to deride it and go against the mainstream opinion, instead finding that he loved it (GV score 92 pts!). When I found it at my local shop, and for a mere $25, I had to try it.
The golden color on this wine is incredible, looking more like a sauterne than a Chardonnay, and the aroma is haunting . . . (ok, I may be digging for words here but bear with me). But seriously, I swear I smell a little sweatyness and indian curry on the nose along with more traditional notes of light fruits and some earthiness. The palate has a great minerality and acidity that makes me want to drink it too fast. In truth, I really can’t tell too much of a difference between this and the much more expensive Kistler Chardonnay previously reviewed on grapesrgreat (another Cali Chard made in a French Burgundy style). I am not sure I can give this 92 points but that may be just because I can only like a Chardonnay so much. I am also getting a bit of a sour note on the finish as the fruit falls off and the acid remains, but this wine is really complex, but subtle and elegant. 91+ pts.
$70: Kistler is a huge name in the world of California Pinots and Chardonnays, and they are at least partially responsible for California gaining the credibility that it has these days with regard to these most famous varietal wines.
As you can probably tell, even from the picture, this wine has more color on it than any other Chardonnay I have seen. It is completely golden in hue, almost like a pilsner beer but somehow with more depth. The nose carries a richness missing in most california chardonnay, even the expensive ones, with a complexity of earth and a pear/honeydew sorta thing going on. When you taste it, the first thing you notice is how drippingly opulent the mouthfeel is. This is so full bodied that if you couldn’t taste it, you might guess you were drinking a Sauterne or an Icewine. The taste has a unique spice note to it that remains subtle with a bright acidity and tartness. The finish is incredibly long and the whole thing in enveloped in a blanket of warm earthiness and floral qualities. For as few French white wines that I have had (I will work on that sooner or later), I would’ve sworn that this was one, if I didn’t know what it was going in. At a price point of $70 (if you can find it), it just may be worth it, once in a while. 92+ pts.