I’m still trying to play catch-up on some tasting notes, so I’ll keep it simple and to the point.
Notes: This California Chardonnay was pale yellow in the glass. On the nose I smelled lemon, grass and lanolin. It was light-bodied with a definite coat-the-tongue quotient and high acidity. Alcohol was at 13.5%. On the palate I found citrus, sweet pear, spice, and a lanolin note. It had a long finish of citrus zest. Best with food, I think – chicken dishes.
I love the name of this wine … Morning Fog. It’s what I experience every day. Not because of the atmospheric conditions but because of what’s going on inside my own head – plenty of morning fog. Those who know me well are aware that I am not available to answer any questions or make any real decisions until that fog has lifted. I realize that is not what the folks at Wente are trying to conjure in naming their wine. No doubt they are aiming for an association with the pleasant cool dampness of a morning fog on one’s face or the haunting beauty it can bring as it creates both a blanket and kind of an optical filter over the landscape. And given that these grapes were grown in the San Francisco Bay area, I’m sure they saw plenty of fog.
Wine: Morning Fog
Appellation: Livermore Valley – San Francisco Bay, CA
Notes: This California Chardonnay was a light yellow in the glass. On the nose I got citrus, peach and grass. It was light-bodied with high acidity. It had that “prick the tongue” feeling. Alcohol was at 13.5%. On the palate I found citrus, peach, warm toasty oak, grass and a repeat of the citrus on the finish. It was a pleasant glass of Chardonnay. It think it would pair nicely with a light chicken and most fish dishes.
I’m back! Sorry, but my workaday job became work-a-nights and work-a-weekends, too. While that hasn’t completely changed, I’m happy to say that it has eased a tad. So I decided to use this opportunity to get a very quick post up. And here it is!
Notes: The color was pale yellow, and the bouquet held scents of citrus and peach with hints of spice. This unoaked Californian was light-bodied with good acidity. Flavors I found included citrus, some peach, a touch of spice and a bitter chemical-like finish. Overall, it struck me more like a Sauvignon Blanc than what I generally anticipate from a Chardonnay. Admittedly, I’ve had only a few French Chardonnays. Perhaps this Simply Naked is more in keeping with a European style? At any rate, I can’t say that I was especially satisfied with this wine experience. It was a perfectly potable beverage but not my glass of Chardonnay.
I know full well that Acacia Vineyards is best known for their Pinot Noir. I still remember being quite impressed with my first glass of Acacia Pinot Noir from Carneros. In fact, I’ve had several enjoyable glasses of Pinot by the Acacia folks from multiple vintages. I know success with one varietal does not guarantee a winemaker’s success with another. Still, I think a label that has earned my respect by doing a good job over many years deserves my trust on their other offerings as well. So … I decided I’d give this A by Acacia Chardonnay a try.
Winemaker: A by Acacia
Notes: The color of this Acacia Chardonnay was a vivid golden yellow. On the nose I smelled apple, pear, and oak with notes of citrus and artichoke. Acidity was high, and alcohol was at 13.5%. This medium-bodied Californian brought a lot of flavor to the palate. I tasted plenty of oak, some citrus, pear, honey, and a touch of artichoke. It finished with bitter grass and chalk. This is a moderately complex glass of white in the big, oaky tradition of California Chardonnays. I found it pretty darned enjoyable even if it isn’t a perfectly balanced wine. Hey, sometimes balance can be overrated.
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
Appellation: Central Coast, CA
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).
OK, we had a little departure from the “budget-friendly wine” focus of this blog with my last post. So now we’re going to come swinging back with a post about a truly inexpensive selection. It’s from Raymond Hill which is evidently owned by the same company, the Bronco Wine Company, that makes the Charles Shaw line for Trader Joe’s. No surprise, I suppose, that it was cheap and that I found it at the local TJ.
Winemaker: Raymond Hill
Price: $6.99 per Magnum at Trader Joe’s
Notes: The color was a light lemon yellow. The bouquet was quite faint with honey, citrus, pear, and floral notes. Alcohol was at 12.5 %. The acidity was good, and the body was light. The flavor profile was fairly simple. I tasted citrus, pear, and dusty floral notes in the main with grapefruit and lemon grass at the finish. On the one hand, it was surprisingly not too bad for such an inexpensive selection. On the other hand, I don’t think I’d serve this to guests. If it were easy to make really good wine, more people would be doing it. The trick, of course, is the blend of the elements – the flavors, acidity, residual sugar, etc. Even though I didn’t think this was an especially refined selection, you could do worse for a cheap house white. Heck, I’ve had worse and paid more. Still, this is definitely not a connoisseur’s or serious enthusiast’s wine. (But we already knew that, didn’t we?).
This is just a quick post about an Argentinian Chardonnay I recently had. In the immortal words of the character Joe Friday (played by Jack Webb) from the radio and television show Dragnet, I’ll be sticking to “just the facts.”
Notes: The color of this South American white wine was a pale shade of Maize. On the nose I found lemon, toasty oak, some pineapple, and a zing of paint thinner. Acidity was good but on the lower end of what I think of as typical for the varietal. Alcohol was at 13.5%, and it was a medium-bodied selection. Flavors? Well, I tasted citrus (mainly lemon, some grapefruit), butter, pineapple, and grass. It had quite a long finish that held copious toasty oak along with hints of spice and butter. I enjoyed this selection. It does have a fair amount of oak which gives me no pause but isn’t to everyone’s liking. With the buttery undertones, maybe this would be a good accompaniment to a lobster dish or chicken with mushrooms.
Continuing my recent run of Australians, I picked up this Trackers Crossing Chardonnay at Whole Foods. Always interested in understanding more about the wines I quaff, I looked up the name Trackers Crossing. I found that there is, in fact, a Trackers Crossing Road in the area of St. George, Queensland, Australia. Although this isn’t in very close proximity to the McLaren Vale area outside of Adelaide where Thomas Hardy started his wine-making back in 1853, it is still very much in the South Eastern area of the country. A little deductive reasoning might suggest that the vineyards where the grapes for this wine were grown lie in the vicinity of Trackers Crossing Road. That, of course, would only be a guess on my part.
Winemaker: Thomas Hardy & Sons for Whole Foods
Wine: 365 Trackers Crossing Chardonnay
Appellation: South Eastern Australia
Price: $6.99 at Whole Foods
Notes: In the glass this Chardonnay was a light yellow (straw-colored). In the bouquet I smelled lots of citrus, some pineapple and hints of spice. It was what I would consider a medium-bodied white. Flavors for me were honey, pineapple, a touch of guava, light citrus notes, generous oak, some hints of spice, and a bite of bitter melon on the finish. As I mentioned, this wine gives good oak in the Australian style and may be too much for those who prefer a lighter touch. I felt it took me right to the edge of my personal “oak limit,” but always stayed just a half step back. And let me say of the bitterness at the finish – I found it lingered but didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the wine. I understand that some believe bitter flavors can stimulate the appetite. Whether or not that’s true, I do believe that particular flavor component in this wine will allow it to stand up well to foods. Acidity was good, and alcohol is at 13.5%. Not a bad drink at $6.99 a bottle!
Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.