Matt Walker

Location: Northridge, CA

I am a Certified Specialist of Wine and uncertified Wine Geek! As a Snoother, I hope to raise awareness for smaller, lesser-known but quality driver producers. Major regions I specialize in include Washington, California, Tuscany, Bordeaux, and the Douro

Wines Less Traveled: Chardonnay

I have a sort of love-hate relationship with Chardonnay, in that I seem to either love them or loath them without much in between.  That being said there's a reason it's one of the world's most popular and renowned white grapes.  The challenge is to balance the malolactic fermentation with freshness and oak with the grape's (let's face it) limited expressivness.  When everything comes together chardonnay is elegant, rich, and a joy to drink.  Once again it's likely you may not have heard of some or any of the wonderful, tiny, and sometimes new producers on this list but they are all doing exceptional wines with great price-to-value.

1. Argot Wines Old Habits Chardonnay Bennett Valley (2009)

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Previously available for $39.00
Premier Cru Burgundy meets classic California. Citrus hits the nose first but then gives way to richer fruits like figs and bruleed apples. The palette is weighty but not flabby or fat. There's marzipan golden apple, stone fruit, and Challa bread. Just a lovely wine.
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  • 1107678hoochbear what chardonnay do I love? Chateau Ste. Michelle and Sams Club. Light and fruity is right. A good place to start...especially in the heat of summer. hooch

  • 197823chkm8k2 The palate is weighty, not flabby or fat....what does that mean?

  • 842795Matt Walker By weighty I mean the literal weight of the wine in your mouth, the viscosity or richness if you will. Imagine the difference between a chowder and chicken noodle soup. The former has more weight than the latter. While richness and ripeness, especially in a Chardonnay, can be positive if these qualities go too far you get a "flabby" wine. Flabby = overripe, overrich, and above all too little acidity. Flabby wines are heavy rather than just rich, one note instead of complex, and often just plain flat.

  • 1032666shsim Im glad to see no oak and european style chardonnays! I have not tried anyone from your list, but might do some exploring. I love the Jewell ranch Chardonnay from J wines. That is my favorite so far although I have not had many. What do you think about that?

  • 842795Matt Walker I've only had the pleasure of trying a few of the Pinots from J but I'll keep an eye out for the Chard. I definitely prefer the less oak, less malo chards. You may have noticed a lack of Burgundies which I hope to remedy in another list soon.

  • 1032666shsim Great, me too! I look forward to your list!

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