Speeding Tasting #1

2008 Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay

I had this last week at the Rootstock Festival and really enjoyed it. It’s a RRV Chardonnay that has a nice handle on its oak and acidity balance. A lot spice and a little cream on the nose with lovely pear and apple on the palate.

This particular wine is a small lot wine from Rodney Strong. It retails for around $35 and I’ve always enjoyed it.

Still in South America

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live Event

I don’t know that I had ever had an Argentinian Chardonnay prior to this tasting event. I’m not seeing any in my previous tasting notes, so I’m guessing the answer is no. This event provided the opportunity to taste a couple. Next up was the 2009 Salentein Chardonnay. It clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for around $18.

My first thought here was that it smelled like candied ginger. If you like ginger, this is a good thing. I do not. Otherwise I found spice, oak, lemon, pear, and almost some pepper notes. In the mouth I found spiced apple, lemon, spiced pear, and a lemon note on the finish. I found this to be a very spicy chardonnay overall.

Cleaning Up Old Notes

*Disclaimer: I received this wine in order to participate in a Taste Live event.

I’m still digging back in the archives to catch up on wines I never got around to telling you about when my posting slowed down last year.  I tasted this bottle during a Wines of Argentina Twitter Taste Live event towards the end of August last year. Yikes. Way behind on this one. I should be caught up around here pretty quickly now that I’m publishing 4-5 posts a week again. I’d push out more posts but I’m still suffering from sleep deprivation…the Little Wino doesn’t seem to understand how nice sleep is! The 2008 Valentin Chardonnay was one of the wines in the tasting line up. It clocked in at 13.7% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails somewhere around $14.

On the nose I found oak, a touch of butter, toast, spice, apple, clove, pear, and tropical notes. In the mouth I got apple, lots of pear, pineapple, spice, green apple, slight nutty notes, and oak. This was too oaky and buttery for me.

More Bears

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Sean Minor Wines.

I’m afraid a box of wine from Sean Minor got lost in my basement. We had a bit of a problem in the basement when our hot water heater let go and things got shifted around and buried. I finally have time to catch my breath again after having the baby and resort everything out and I came upon this box of Sean Minor wines from 2007.  I’m two vintages behind on the 4 Bears Chardonnay. The current vintage is from 2009 and these notes are from the 2007 4 Bears Chardonnay. The wine clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and the current vintage retails for around $9.

On the nose I got pear, pineapple, tropical notes, and peach. In the mouth I got apple, green apple, pineapple, pear, and tropical notes. This wine was all fruit for me, and holding up quite well for the price point.  The 4 Bears Chard would be perfect for your next party, with a wallet-friendly price and a taste that’s easy to please.

$18 for a Great Chardonnay

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong

Chardonnay can be a wonderful wine.  Sadly, I often find ones that just aren’t to my taste. Thankfully, that is not at all the case with the 2008 Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay, which displays all the fruit that makes a lovely Chardonnay and none of the heavy-handedness with oak that turns me off. I prefer a light touch of oak that lends a bit of roundness to the flavors of the wine and complements, and Rodney Strong really gets that right with this wine. The 2008 Chardonnay clocks in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and can be purchased online for around $18.

On the nose I got pear, pineapple, apple, stone, mineral, and lemon. I found the nose to be very aromatic.  In the mouth I found yellow apple, lemon, pear, lime, and a citrusy finish. You could definitely taste the influence of the oak on the palate, lending structure to the wine, but it complemented the acidity making for a nicely rounded wine with great fruit flavors.

Loving on the Chard

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Jordan Winery

If I’m going for a white in the winter, I often reach straight for a Chardonnay. As much as I love my light and sprightly whites, I do enjoy something with a little more oomph and weight for the winter months. So when I went to root around in the cellar the other night, the 2008 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay seemed to fit the bill perfectly.  The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $24.

On the nose I got pineapple, pear, apple, caramel notes, spice, the slightest oak undertone, and peach. In the mouth I found pear, apple, lemon, peach, apple, and more pear.  The pear dominated in the mouth for me, with apples coming in a close second. Overall, the wine had great structure with crisp fruit and the oak treatment lending the wine the perfect weight for the roast chicken I made to go with it.



Argentinian Chardonnay

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Gallo Family Wines.

I found this wine hiding in a box I thought was empty in the basement. That occasionally happens given the size of my basement and the number of boxes down there. I can’t even remember the last time I opened one of my own boxes of wine, everything I bought on my Sonoma trip in April is still all boxed up. Anywho, I plucked the 2008 Alamos Chardonnay out of its hiding place and we drank it. The wine clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, retails for as low as $8, and had a Diam closure. It hails from Mendoza, Argentina.

On the nose I found pineapple, pear, a little oak, some cream, tropical fruit, and caramel notes.  In the mouth I got pear, apple, lemon, lemon zest, some spice, and some oaky influence.  This isn’t really my style of Chardonnay, but for $8, it’s okay.

Southern Chardonnay

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from F. Wildman.

Matt seemed in the mood for a Chardonnay the other night. Not terribly common around these parts, but hey, strike while the striking is hot since so many folks send Chardonnay our way, they tend to pile up just a bit. I really need to have people over and just taste through all of one variety of wine to clear out some stuff. Like a brown bag lunch, but you get to take home wine in brown bags if you like it. Anywho, we settled on the 2007 Trapiche Broquel Chardonnay. It clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume (I prefer my whites a little less alcoholic than that) and looks to retail for about $15.

On the nose the wine smelled woody, with peach, mango, tropical fruit, yellow apple, vanilla cream, butter, and more peach. In the mouth I got lemon, butter, apple, tropical notes, a little wood, and a little more butter. I found it to be crisper than I expected based on the wood and butter notes, but I thought that compared to the nose the palate fell off a bit.

Last of the Bubbles

Well, that’s not QUITE true, but it’s the last of the bubbles I have that I haven’t written about. I’ve got some nice Roederer tucked away, but I’ve written about the Roederer before! Not that it will stop me from writing about it again, but I do like to bring you some variety. Spring definitely presented some lovely weather for drinking bubbles on the porch. I think that should become an annual spring tradition at our house! Matt and I stopped after work at Grape and Bean in downtown Alexandria on a random Friday to pick up some bubbles. We came out with a bottle of the Céline and Laurent Tripoz Cremant de Bourgogne. I paid $23.50 for the wine, it had a typical Champagne closure, and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got bread, honey, yeast, and honeysuckle. In the mouth I found honey butter, apricot, pear, and a chalky mineral quality. I found the wine to be crisp and tart with good bubbles. The Cremant is made from 100% Chardonnay and the estate is Demeter certified (biodynamic).

Napa Chardonnay

Two years ago (gosh, time flies) Thea and I spent a day toddling around Napa. One of our stops was at Cakebread Cellars. I’d heard a lot about Cakebread, but had never been there….I tend not to make the effort to go to places you need to make appointments for since I usually am out in the area for vacation. I like to be able to flit around most of the time doing whatever strikes my fancy. This time thought, Thea had made an appointment for us, so after a lovely lunch at Taylor’s Refresher (now Gott’s Roadside) off we went. I only bought on bottle that day because I found the wines to be pricey. The 2007 Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay cost me $39 (I think, or $42), clocked in at 14.3% alcohol, and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found Werther’s Original, toast, apple, lemon, green apple, smoke, and melon. I really like the nose. In the mouth I got green apple, lemon, stones, peach, and just the slightest hint of cream and toast on the finish. Overall I found it to be dry, tart, and crisp.