With the weather warming up, but not quite in full summer mode (at least for most of us), I thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the West Coast Chardonnay that has been arriving in the office lately. Chardonnay still rules the roost as far as white goes, and for good reason. It’s a prolific producer, and winemakers have figured out how to create a wide range of styles using it as the base. From crisp and steely to decadently lush, there is a Chard to please every palate.
Interestingly, a lot of winemakers seem to be veering toward a middle ground these days -- it’s not uncommon for a winemaker to marry some creamy, fermented-in-barrel, full-malo juice with a bit of stainless steel tank-fermented juice to produce wines that feature the best attributes of each style. I found many of the wines I sampled to be shooting for this middle ground, and there was certainly a lot to like with this group.
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It’s not surprising to see some of the more expensive wine performing well in this tasting but I must say that I was really surprised by the fine showing of the Rodney Strong, which was simply delicious. The Mirassou, another perennial value-favorite, also showed well in a lighter style.
Of the top-scoring wines, I preferred the elegance and purity of the Carabella and Stuhlmuller. Both exhibited excellent focus and a bit of appealing steeliness that gave the wines excellent cut and definition while exhibiting the rich fruit for which the west coast is famous.
Read all of the reviews, after the jump.