Archive for ‘Chardonnay’

September 24, 2020

Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay, 2013

From the cellar: Stellar.  No other words.

In 2017 we pulled out the last bottle from a half case we’d scored in the US (back in the day when the CDN had some reasonable busying power) and wrote an over the top post.  Link here.  Then, on the weekend, I found another bottle.  A final final bottle.  Lottery win!  It’s just that gushing 2017 review all over again, amped up.  I mean the legs on this stuff, it’s beyond description. 

Price: You can score it in YVR for around $64 which is ludicrous. LUDICROUS. Definitely not on our income. But how I wish.

Market Liquidity: In 2015 we wrote “It puts the lush in lush” and in 2017 “How the other half drink” and to that we’ll add parting with the last bottle is not sweet sorrow, it’s just plain sorrow.

They put their phone number on the label AND the cork, like a Johnson & Johnson product. It’s Hello Kitty adorable…
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August 31, 2020

Bartier Brothers Chardonnay, 2016

Don and Michael Bartier make good wines (word on the street they may help Saturna make good wines!).  In general, bottle after bottle, vintage after vintage, they have a sincerity and forwardness that is usually very likeable and almost always easy on the pocketbook.  Their Semillon is a smash (if you can get your friends to drink Semillon).  True, we’ve been indifferent to some of the reds, but each year we give some a go and each year we usually find a varietal or blend worth blogging about. And all hail the screw tops for a picnic.

The Chardonnay is good.  It’s gentle, lightly fruity, sips well, makes a very nice lunch accompaniment; top heavy in tropical notes with perhaps a little too much guava/pineapple.  No oak.  Product specialists raved.  It’s probably an ideal if not addictive white for many people, at an exceptional price point.  But it drinks sweet.  It drinks a little too syrupy and without the crisp, lean, sharpness you (or many people) want in a Chardonnay.

Price: You can find it in private stores for around $25.

Market Liquidity: It’s a subjective A but an objective B.

June 26, 2020

La Frenz Freedom 75 Chardonnay, 2018

La Frenz Freedom 75 Chardonnay, 2018

It’s smooth, it’s caramel butterscotch-y so that it veers towards Werther’s Original.  Fortunately, the freshness and zestiness of some acid keeps the cloying at bay.  It was decent with light fare, easy sipping, and enjoyable.  But remarkably forgettable and seemingly commonplace on the finish.  If you are averse to oak, this is an ideal local option.

 

Price: $26.50 at Firefly.

 

Market Liquidity: We used to get very excited over La Frenz; like a favorite director releasing a dud.

March 27, 2020

Domaine Henri Darnat “La Jumilie” Chardonnay, 2016

Domaine Henri Darnat “La Jumilie” Chardonnay, 2016

So in BC to score a wine bottled in Meursault (bottled in Meursault, not Meursault!) at around $30 is something of a coup.

 

We loved this bottle with its brazen minerality and stony finish.  Sharp, crisp, elegant.  Stone fruits, dry, not an ounce of residual sugar.  But it wouldn’t impress.  The Burgundy crowd would immediately discern its lesser-ness, the Chardonnay crowd would crow it lacked the oak-y finesse so finessed in California, and the average wine drinker would just not appreciate the subtle-ness.  However, for my $30, it was a score.

 

Price: $28 at BC Liquor, on sale, such as it is.

 

Market Liquidity: Like a light lunch on a patio in Beaune in spring; dry, relaxing, layers of distinction.

May 28, 2019

Ritual Casablanca Chardonnay, 2016

Biodynamic brilliance. What do the French think when they drink a wine this well crafted? Ooh-la-la, how can we compete? This delectable, restrained Chardonnay is fruit forward, imperceptible oak, layered, complex, with a wet linen astringency on the finish. Subtle but profound. Lovely.

Price: We sourced it at Everything Wine but it’s since gone out of stock. $34?

Market Liquidity: Evocative of something much more prestigious.

May 27, 2019

Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay, 2016

Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay, 2016

BC Liquor had the MS on sale, $5 off.  Strictly speaking, you have to be in the mood for California Chardonnay.  Usually there is that Pythonesque 16 tons on your head to the oak.  But this was, surprisingly, light (as CA Chard goes), not too obtrusive, stellar with seafood, lime and stone and honeydew on the palate, and, as it warmed slightly, some banana and fresh bread.  In terms of our tastes, what we gravitate to, this is a non-starter.  But as the overstocked shelves at BC Liquor attest, taste is not the market. If BCL could bring themselves to actually sell this $5 off, it could be a Tuesday night slam dunk.  As such, no such luck.

 

Price: $35, regular price, before taxes, BC Liquor

 

Market Liquidity: Hey BC Liquor: Rather than “sell” wine how about curating wine?

March 16, 2019

Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay, 2014

There was a time when Wolf Blass defined good taste in wine.  And that time was three decades ago.  And, for me, I can even define it further: 1984 in Sydney when WB was both affordable and astonishingly good.  But now?  Talk about retro blast from the past.

 

This is a totally pleasurable Chardonnay, no strikes against it.  For the person who wants a wine, year after year, to taste pretty much the same, within a very, very narrow range of differentiation, Wolf Blass rules the southern hemisphere.  Perhaps only Beringer comes close with this sort of equilibrium.  But isn’t part of the pleasure of drinking wine that difference vintage to vintage, that variability?  If it is, I suggest you move on.

 

Glass half full: Class act.  Glass half empty: Next. Quickly.

 

Price: Regularly $25, on sale for $20, so extremely good value.

 

Market Liquidity: Like an 80s playlist.

February 25, 2019

La Frenz Chardonnay Reserve, 2016

Is the LF reserve markedly better than the non-reserve?  I guess so.  It looks better in the glass with its deep golden hue.  It has more of the assertive oak and piquancy that is the hallmark of the house.  Do we like it?  We love it.  Year after year.  But we’re never sure how much more we love it than their run of the mill Ch.  I mean for $20 La Frenz turns out a palatable and “drinker friendly” Chardonnay that perks up any seafood dinner.

 

Hard to find, worth finding, worth having in multiples. Too bad about the cork, it seems a little pompous, but a perpetual favorite in our cellar.

 

Price: $25 from the vineyard and worth each cent.

 

Market Liquidity: It always seems a little special, even if predictable.

 

January 16, 2019

Glen Carlou Quartz Stone Chardonnay, 2016

What a wonderful, optimistic and uplifting start to 2019.  A beautiful white; crisp, clean, minerally, the proverbial oyster shells, with hints of honeydew melon and a whisper of jasmine.  A long buttery finish.  When Hugh Johnson writes about his love of acidity, I think this wine epitomizes that sentiment, with a tart acidity extremely well balanced on the palate.  Not knock your socks of Burgundy, but restrained and evocative of terroir.  Zero complaints.

 

Price: Gifted but I’ve seen it at the Kitsilano Wine Cellar in the mid 30s.

 

Market Liquidity: The yin and yang of new and old world Chardonnay.

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November 16, 2018

Domaine de la Baume Elite D’or Chardonnay, 2015

Just wrong.  It smells like Australian Chardonnay from the cask.  It drinks like inexpensive over-oaked California Chardonnay.  And then it disappears on the palate.  The heft of the bottle weight, the adornment of points from the WA, and the golden hue of the wine, lean towards something substantial, but like candy floss, while it looks and feels like one thing, on the palate it’s another.  We’ve never experienced a Chardonnay with so little finish.  It’s like a vanishing act.

 

Price: I can see paying $16 all in, as you can in Ontario, but to charge nearly $30 at Everything Wine in BC before taxes seems a criminal act.

 

Market Liquidity: I bought a couple of extra based on reviews (and, yes, the stupid number 90 on the neck).  Guess I’ll be sharing with those I don’t care about sharing with.