Chateau St. Jean Soirée 2011

I’ve been burning gray matter trying to come up with a clever or at least interesting way to introduce this bottle of wine, but I’ve still got nothing.  Zip!  Zero!  Nada!  As my brain seems currently to be on strike, let’s just cut to the chase.

Winemaker:  Chateau St. Jean
Wine:  Soirée
Varietal: Red Blend
Vintage: 2011
Appellation:  California
Price:  $19.99

Notes:  The color of this California red was a dark burgundy in the glass.  On the nose I caught whiffs of blackberry, oak, menthol, white pepper and a hint of musty earth.  It was light on the tongue with good acidity.  While alcohol was at 13.8%, making this a fairly dry blend, tannins were almost non-existent.  Flavors I detected were mocha, blackberry, oak, red plum and a dash of hot peppers.  On the fairly long finish, the wine brought an astringent menthol to the palate.  Overall, a pretty interesting red blend for sipping or pairing with lighter meat or vegetarian dishes.

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StoneCap Chardonnay 2011

I’d never heard of StoneCap Wines when I ran across this on the shelves at a local grocery store.  Label indicates all the grapes used to make this Chardonnay are grown in StoneCap’s Goose Ridge Vineyard – estate grown, as it were.

Winemaker:  StoneCap Wines
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Columbia Valley, WA
Price:  $10.49

Notes:  The bouquet of this Washington selection was fairly light with scents of citrus, grass and wildflowers.  The wine was a very pale yellow, and it was light-bodied with good acidity.  At 12.5% alcohol, it could have been sweet on the palate.  I thought, however, the bright acidity kept it from going too far in that direction.  Flavors I found included lemon, a hint of cream, grass and grapefruit.  On the lingering finish the citrus hung in along with a note of warm baking spices.  Overall it was a pretty decent glass of Chardonnay.  Now I want to sample some of the other StoneCap wines.  Nice discovery for me at the local Giant.

Sterling Vintner’s Collection Chardonnay 2012

Found this selection on sale at a local grocery store.  Based on what I see online, the sale price – $8.99 – is closer to the average price in other markets.  In my area, as you can see, the price is a little higher.  Like 45% higher!  Glad I waited for the sale.

Winemaker:  Sterling Vineyards
Wine:  Vintner’s Collection Chardonnay
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Central Coast, CA
Price:  $16.49

Notes:  This California Chardonnay was a light lemon yellow in the glass.  On the nose I got citrus and pear.  It was light-bodied with good (I’d even say zingy) acidity.  Alcohol was at 13.5%.  On the palate I found loads of lemon, some grapefruit, touches of oak, a hint of butter and grass.  As it warmed to room temperature, I also found a floral note – honeysuckle.  I think this would be a great wine to serve with a fish course.  I wouldn’t call it refined, but it did seem a better balanced Chardonnay than I’ve had in a while.  Then again, I’m focused on inexpensive selections.  At any rate, I enjoyed this Sterling Chardonnay (at the price I paid – lol).