Chardonnays For Summer Days

Jul 18, 2011 by

Chardonnays For Summer Days

It’s summertime and I’m drinking more white wines (as most people do). I’m in a Chardonnay phase right now – I’m really enjoying them, especially the pretty, balanced ones with a minimum of oak influence. Many people love big, buttery, fruity Chardonnays, and there are lots to be had, but I’m finding more crisp, Burgundian style Chards in the marketplace these days and that makes this Wine Wench really happy (tail wagging).

I tasted 12 Chardonnays from all over California. The following 9 were my favorites:

Five Stars
Joel Gott
2010 Unoaked, Monterey $16

This beautiful Chardonnay is crisp, lean, elegant and perfectly balanced. Picture Gwyneth Paltrow, wearing a glittery designer gown and Jimmy Choo heels. She is munching delicately on a crisp green apple as she swings her way down the red carpet. Fans throw honeysuckle and lemon blossoms as she glides by.

Five Stars
De La Montanya
2009 Russian River Valley $40

This wine is Scarlett Johannson baking you an apple pie, wearing nothing but a frilly apron, stiletto heels and a mischievous smile. Mouthwatering aromas of baked apple with brown spices (cinnamon, clove, allspice), vanilla and a twist of Meyer lemon continue as flavors in the rich, yet juicy mouth.

Five Stars
Folie à Deux
2009, Napa $18

One sniff and there’s no doubt – this is Chardonnay with a capital “C.” Aromas and flavors of ripe apple, pear, lemon curd and vanilla all play nicely together, from the first sniff, through the richly textured mouth, and on through the long, delicious finish. You’re gonna want more of this beauty.

Five Stars
Carmenet
2009 CA $11.99

This wine is a Chard-o-holics dream-come-true – it’s loaded with classic Chardonnay aromas and flavors and available at a bargain price. Apple, buttered toast, brown spice and vanilla aromas and flavors abound!

Five Stars
Rodney Strong
2009 Chalk Hill Sonoma County $18

This gorgeous Chardonnay has it all going on – balance, finesse, varietal correctness (smalls and tastes like a Chardonnay should) and it is simply delicious. Aromas and flavors of Creme Brulee, lemon zest, baked apple and buttered toast delight the senses.

Five Stars
Heliodoro
2009 Russian River Valley $18

There should be a warning label on this delicious Chardonnay, because it is too easy to drink. I could easily down a bottle or three! It is bright, crisp and fruity, with mouthwatering pear, apple, citrus and floral aromas and flavors, all wrapped up in a juicy mouthfeel. Yum!

Four Stars
El Rey
2009 Alexander Valley $18

Perfumed aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle and orange blossom are enhanced by peach, nectarine and vanilla. These aromas continue as flavors in the perfectly balanced mouth.

Four Stars
Raymond Burr
2009 Sonoma County $38

A very pretty and delicate Chardonnay, with a drift of white flowers (jasmine, honeysuckle and lemon blossoms), buttered toast and baked apple aromas and flavors. The mouthfeel is soft, yet balanced and juicy.

Three Stars
Michael David
2010 Seven Heavenly Chardonnays, Lodi $14

You are walking down the midway at your local carnival. Lights are flashing, conversation, laughter (and screams from the rides) ebbs and flows around you and your nose is assailed with aromas of cotton candy, churros, kettle corn and cinnamon rolls. That’s what this wine reminds me of – all things bright, flashy, fun and somewhat sweet. It’s a good ride.

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