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Posts Tagged ‘Chardonnay’

California Chardonnay

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San Pasqual Winery

2012 Chardonnay South Coast (California)
California Chardonnay

San Pasqual, an Urban Winery

 

The San Pasqual Winery follows the newer trend among California Chardonnay producers to stop clobbering drinkers’ taste buds with oak, allowing more of the fruit to shine through. As a result, you get flavors of pear, golden apple and a hint of butterscotch. This method also imparts far less butter and oak, which is absolutely fine with me. It had a crisp lemon finish.

 

I also got a chance to try the 2014, which hasn’t been released. It is an equally beautiful expression of fruit forwardness.

 

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Wine Review Snapshot

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Wine Tasting Review

Sipping for Wine Reviews

Sipping for Wine Reviews & Education

As a wine educator, I am tasked with tasting wines on a frequent basis. Yes, break out the guitar and play a blues song for me. So, since I drink wine almost daily, I thought it was time again to share some tasting notes. For another wine review snapshot, check out my post on Warm Weather Wines ideal for fall.

What follows is a wine review snapshot of wines I’ve enjoyed recently.

 

My Wine Tastings Highlights

Domaine Peiriere by Paul Sapin

Chardonnay/Viognier

Pays d’Oc

Salad with orange slices

Salad with orange slices

I love blends. The Viognier in this blend gives it a bit of freshness and lemon zest, while the Chardonnay brings a great golden color that hints of oak. I wish more American Chardonnay producers would blend their white wines instead of making pure single variety wines.

This wine would be a nice accompaniment to a salad with mandarin orange slices or one with pieces of avocado. The acidity would compliment the citrus while matching nicely with the creaminess of the avocado.

It’s not a complicated wine but I’d drink it again as one of my simple, everyday wines. I believe it is priced under $10.

 

2011 Robert Craig Affinity

Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley

This wine has great legs and a beautiful deep, purple color. On the nose, I got plum and blackberry fruit. Although the wine was young, I tasted masculine dark, plum and jam-like fruits. It also had surprisingly tamed tannins.

For a Napa Cab, the Robert Craig Affinity at $39.95 is priced quite reasonable. If you can buy two bottles, you should. Then, you can drink one now and lay one down for another 3 to 4 years. This is a wine that will taste even better in a few years.

 

2012 Ramey

Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley

This Cabernet will set you back around $50, but it is worth every penny. It tastes like a Cab that cost twice as much. And that certainly is not a bad thing given the hefty prices most Napa Cabernets.

Its appearance is an intense dark red but the nose was a bit trickier. I smelled cherry and Thanksgiving spices, which only hastened my desire to taste it. So I gave into temptation and was rewarded with beautiful black cherry and raisin flavors. The tannins were as beautiful as the wine.

After drinking this wine, I was so intrigued that I went to the website to find out more about the winemaker. Dave Ramey developed an impressive resume working in the industry prior to opening his winery  with his wife Carla, in 1996. They have a tasting room in Healdsburg, which I will surely have to visit on my next trip to the region.

To learn more about their vineyards, click http://www.rameywine.com/vineyards/

 

Mumm Napa

Sparkling Wine Brut Prestige

Napa Valley

Champagne Classy Enough for a Wedding

A Sparking Wine Classy Enough for a Wedding

I could drink champagne and sparkling wine every single day of my life. I love it that much.  And this sparkling is a staple in my wine captain. A Napa stalwart, it is refreshing and has a creamy brioche finish typically only found in expensive French champagnes. It is medium bodied, with a citrus flavor and the perfect amount of acidity.

Mumm’s sparkling wine is classy enough to serve at a special occasion such as a wedding; yet it won’t break the bank. The complexity will have your guests thinking you spent far more. It’s a perfect food wine that typically retails for around $17.

 

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The New California Chardonnay

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2011 Raymond Chardonnay

2011 Raymond Chardonnay

2011 Raymond Chardonnay Reserve Selection Napa Valley

For years I’ve been a die-hard ABC wine drinker.  If you don’t know what that means, I’ll explain.  The trend through the 2000’s was for California winemakers to produce oak-forward Chardonnay wines that flew off the shelves, being gobbled up by young wine drinkers and women’s book clubs.  It got to the point where you just couldn’t taste anything but oak and butter.  I absolutely hated California Chardonnay. And I was in good company because someone in my same flavor-profile camp, coined the term, “ABC”, Anything But Chardonnay”.  So whenever I’d go out to happy hour, I’d order Anything But Chardonnay.

 

I Saw the Light

But then, a most wonderful thing happened.  And I’m not even sure when the voice of reason returned but winemakers started showing some restraint and stopped using a heavy hand with the oak aging.  The result was Chardonnay with actual fruit flavors.

I feel like the Grinch on Christmas morning after he realizes the Who’s are still happy.  My heart, well make that my love, for Cali Chardonnay has grown three sizes. So I’m on my literary sleigh riding downhill to spread the word and pass the bottle.

Enjoy a Glass of Chardonnay

Enjoy a Glass of Chardonnay

Now I am on a tear trying California Chardonnay whenever I get a chance.  I’m in search of sensibly oak aged Chard with fruit flavor. That’s exactly what I discovered in this Raymond Chardonnay. Stephanie, the other half of Fine Living Enthusiast is a huge Chardonnay fan.  When I do the wine shopping, (Hey, somebody has to do it.), I try to find her interesting Chardonnays to drink that mainly will be perfect for casual drinking, but also move seamlessly into dinner wine.  I totally scored with this one.  This is a lovely wine.

Pear-tasting Chardonnay
Pear-tasting California Chardonnay
The New California Chardonnay

It has the right amount of oak which gives it a bit of vanilla and nutmeg but totally pleases my palette with delicious fruit. I tasted pear and lemon, reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc, but with far more structure and body.  This Raymond Reserve Selection Chardonnay label reads, “Barrels produced 720, Five generations of family winemaking”. Maybe it’s slick marketing but it makes me feel as though this winery takes a lot of pride in their craft. It sure tastes as though they do.

We are talking about a Napa Valley wine that I was able to purchase for $17. I caught a great sale because normally it retails for closer to $22.

“Welcome Back”into my life California Chardonnay.  I missed you and I’m so glad we have renewed our friendship.

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If you are looking for a white wine other than Chardonnay, then try Viognier

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Many people have gotten fed up drinking heavy-oaked Chardonnay wines

California winemakers have a lot to be happy about.  California wines consistently rank and complete successfully against the best wines in the world.  California Chardonnay hit full stride in the early 1990s, becoming the drink of choice for most wine drinkers.  When diners and bar patrons think of white wine, they automatically think of Chardonnay, so much so that the terms have almost become interchangeable.  As a result, more and more producers started making “me too” bottles that were indistinguishable from one another, and many were so heavily oak aged that all the crisp, fruity characteristics of Chardonnay were obliterated. Read More >

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