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2008 Wente Chardonnay Morning Fog Livermore Valley

The 2008 Wente Chardonnay Morning Fog is better than many California Chardonnay selling for twice the price. The nose is surprisingly complex. Yellow apple, pear, melon and lemon curd aromas burst out of the glass. Another sniff reveals lychee which must be coming from the 3% Gewurtztraminer in the blend. Vanilla and cinnamon complete the bouquet. The wine is full-bodied yet offers refreshing acidity. Juicy flavors of baking spice, lemon, peach, banana and vanilla fill your mouth and linger into a longer than average finish.

This is a very happy wine and if you like your Chardonnay fresh, friendly and fruity it will make you happy too. It is also distinctive. While I tasted this particular bottle blind in a flight with other Chardonnays, I’ve had it numerous times previously and immediately knew which wine I was tasting. The 2008 Wente Chardonnay Morning Fog has the the rich fruit and acidity to go well with fried risotto balls or crab cakes but the delicacy to complement a fresh salad of dungeness crab and avocado. Drink now through 2011. Highly recommended.

morning-fog

2008 Wente Chardonnay Morning Fog
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2011
Retail Price: $12.95
Blend: 97% Chardonnay, 3% Gewurtztraminer
Appellation: 86% Livermore Valley, 14% Arroyo Seco, Monterey County
Aging: Half of the wine was fermented and aged sur lie for 7 months in French oak. The other half was fermented and aged in stainless.
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 13.5%

This wine was purchased for review.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the above and below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2008 Justin Reserve Chardonnay Paso Robles

The 2008 Justin Reserve Chardonnay, Paso Robles will fool your friends. After tasting this wine blind within a flight of California Chardonnays, I poured it blind for a couple of my friends. I gave them no hints as to what it was or where it was from. They both pegged it as Chardonnay. One of them, the beverage manager at a prominent San Francisco restaurant, felt the complexity, restrained fruit, good acidity and leesy flavors was indicative of white Burgundy. He was confident that this was not a California wine. My other friend is not a wine professional but has a great palate and has been a white Burgundy enthusiast and collector for decades. He agreed that it was unlikely to be a California wine, but was adamant it was not from Burgundy. He felt that the fruit was too ripe for a Chardonnay from that region.

Of course it is a California wine. But, while neither of my friends were able to identify the origin of the wine, their analyses were correct. This is a very good Chardonnay, but not one that is of the style most people associate with California. I also poured them, blind, the 2008 Justin Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles. Between the two wines, my friends and I have come away very impressed with Justin’s ability to make interesting and elegant white wines.

The Chardonnay’s nose is complex and developing, but restrained. It’s aromas don’t leap out of the glass and shout. The wine lets you approach it. Upon doing so, I found green apple, mineral, white flowers, some charred wood and a bit of rubber. The wine is devoid of butter as it did not undergo any malolactic fermentation. And the use of French oak and sur lie aging mean the oak aromas are delicate and complimented by the yeasty scents I identified as rubber.

The 2008 Justin Reserve Chardonnay is not full-bodied. It is by no means thin, there is a richness, but it doesn’t have that creamy, mouth-coating feel one gets with many Chardonnays. This one is lean and serious. There’s plenty of acidity on the palate and the alcohol is in check. I tasted apple skin, mineral, hints of citrus and stone fruit, and a touch of smoke.

People associate California Chardonnay with full-bodied wines that ooze vanilla, juicy stone fruit, tropical fruit, butter, etc. If that’s what you crave, this wine is not for you. It’s a very good wine, but understated and speaks more to the vineyard from which it came than the barrels or winemaking processes used. The grapes for this Justin Chardonnay comes from old vines on a hillside in west Paso Robles. They roots are set in limestone and the vines are cooled by ocean breezes. Vineyard workers trained the leafy vines to keep the grapes from getting too much sun. Any grape clusters not up to snuff were removed well before harvest.

The 2008 Justin Reserve Chardonnay, Paso Robles is a very good wine. If you like wines of subtle complexity and good acidity, this one may be for you. Serve it with firm white cheeses (like Parmigiano or Comté, not Cheddar) or filet of Sole with a delicate butter-leek sauce. Drink now through 2012. Highly Recommended.

2008-Justin-Reserve-Chard

2008 Justin Reserve Chardonnay, Paso Robles
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2016
Retail Price: $26.25
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Oak: Fermentation and 8 months sur lie aging in 100% new French oak barrels
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 13.5%

I purchased this wine for review.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the above and below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2006 Gundlach Bundschu Chardonnay Rhinefarm Vineyard Sonoma Valley

I bought a few bottles of the 2006 Gundlach Bundschu Chardonnay Rhinefarm Vineyard Sonoma Valley at the winery a couple of years ago. I was really attracted to its flavors, led by vibrant pineapple, and rich texture. It was a very tasty partner to grilled salmon with fruit salsa, or just to sip on.

I set my last bottle aside to see how it would change over time. Recently, I decided to give that bottle a try. I’m pleased to say that it’s still nice. However, all of that juicy pineapple had disappeared.

The wine wasn’t old enough to have turned dark, it was still a medium lemon color in the  glass. There were attractive aromas of peak, vanilla, white flowers, baking spice and delicate stone fruit. The 2006 Gundlach Bundschu Chardonnay continues to be very creamy with flavors of stone fruit, butter, spice and a dash of oak.

While I like the wine now and it still has plenty of ripe, flesh fruit, I did prefer it younger. I guess I just miss that pineapple. In it’s youth, I would have given the wine a “highly recommended” rating. Now, it merits a standard recommendation. You probably won’t find it in stores any more. If you have this vintage of Gundlach Bundschu Rhinefarm Chardonnay at home, I’d drink up over the next six months or so. Try it with steamed, firm-fleshed white fish in delicate lemon-based sauce. Recommended.

2006 Gundlach Bundschu Chardonnay Rhinefarm Vineyard Sonoma Valley
Rating: Recommended
Drink: Now
Retail Price: $NA, current vintage is $27
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Oak: 9 months in French oak, 20% new
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 14.6%

I purchased this wine at the winery two years ago.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the above and below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved. Photos and videos are property of Jordan Vineyards and Winery.