Posts in Chardonnay
Chehalem Makeover 

Chehalem Winery has a new 'do. Since the winery's purchase in early 2018, the font of the winery name went from "ALL CAPS" to "Sentence case". (The winery's founders previously used CHEHALEM to distinguish the use of the winery from the American Viticultural Area, or AVA, of the same name.) Then, this year, the label got a full makeover (now: sexy and sleek in black vs then: wine geeky and laid-back with colorful photos). My favorite part is the offer a new nugget of information: Chehalem is a Calapooia tribe word that means "Valley of Flowers". 

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A New Name on a Label at Ramey Wine Cellars

Though hailing from a chilly, rugged stretch of the Sonoma Coastline, it tastes definitively like a David Ramey Chardonnay to me. By that I mean that it avoids tasting lean and meager, like so many of the wines made from neighboring vines. David's Chardonnays always show balance and finesse, with a seamlessness and ease that only a master can consistently harness.

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The Reliable Stable at Stoller Family Estate

Melissa Burr has been making wine at Stoller Family Estate for years. Moreover, she was born and raised Oregonian. Her wines taste like they are ready to be the centerpiece - even the host - of a great conversation. There's clearly a lot of heart, personal grit and local love that goes into her wines! 

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The Bollinger Non-Vintages - A Toast to Celebrating Summer

I recently had the chance to taste through these two wines thoughtfully, watching them evolve for several hours after opening. The two tenants of Bollinger's style were clearly present from start to finish: the attractive oxidation from the oak barrel aging of at least half of the base wines (all vintage and reserve wines are made exclusively using oak barrels from a range of ages) and the house's signature power supplied by a majority of Pinot Noir in the two blends.

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Jordan Takes Another Step to Further Its French-Forward Identity

Jordan Winery has always embraced French wine principles, from its grape varieties and its terroir-led winemaking philosophy to its beautiful Sonoma County château. Just one factor in Jordan's red wine production that was distinctly different was its use of American oak…. After a four year ramp up that began in 2011, the 2015 is the first release of Cabernet Sauvignon aged entirely in French oak barrels. 

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Rodney Strong Over-Delivers on This Quintet

This array of Rodney Strong wines over-delivers for its price points. Per my previous post, this isn’t surprising. They have a smartly balanced oak influence, meaning that any new oak flavors present are well-integrated and don’t over take the fresh fruit nuances. They also do a terrific job of showing regional and varietal typicity. I’ll gladly endorse these, especially the Chardonnay Chalk Hill and the Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley.

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Mi Sueño 2016 Chardonnay Los Carneros – A Different Dream or Vision?

Mi Sueño means “my dream” and reflects on the ambitions of founders/owners Rolando and Lorena Herrera. It was a Carneros Chardonnay that they first made together, marking the start of their Napa Valley adventure.

My proposed question in the title of a different dream or vision comes only from tasting recently two consecutive vintages of the Los Carneros Chardonnay. I was surprised but very interested in the evident differences.

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FEL: Tasting Firsts 

As an admirer of FEL for many years, I was curious to see what these different vineyards had to say. I must say that I was impressed by the differences in their voices! The two Pinot Noirs offer a surprising contrast of weight, texture and fruit aromas given how small Anderson Valley is – it’s barely longer than the island of Manhattan – and how relatively closely these vineyards sit!  

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Ruby Vineyard Mystery Delivery

Three bottles of wine arrived with no advance notice on my doorstep a few weeks ago. Intrigued, I opened them all over several days last week. They are very accessible, ready-to-drink Oregon bottlings from the Willamette that carry very reasonable price tags. The Chardonnay is the Goldilocks wine of the trio for QPR. I’m so curious to learn more about why I received these wines, but it is always a pleasure to see what is happening in Oregon through the window of a sample set!

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385 Notes & 501 Scores on Sonoma Pinot Noir & Chardonnay

These Pinot Noir and Chardonnay tastings were primarily conducted in Sonoma over the course of two visits (one for ten days, one for three days). My ten-day visit was thorough, covering eight hundred and four miles (1,294 km) and 39 winery appointments.

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Trentodoc Trials

Trentodoc bubbly is on a mission to have its metodo classico wines perceived as the best in Italy. The tip-top of this category of wines is crisp and bitingly dry – in an appealing way. They are also layered with flavor.

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A First! Tasting the Newly Born Vintage of Daniel-Etienne Defaix

I’ve been visiting Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix for over half a decade. I always taste older vintages that charm and delight…but I am always in the area to taste the most recent vintage. When tasting the 2015 vintage in the region, I got a naughty pour off a tank of that vintage chez Etienne. I was PUMPED! So, when I arrived in 2017 to taste the 2016s, I was astonished to be presented (at last) a full line-up of the 2016s.

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All in the Family: Domaine Jaeger-Defaix

I’ve long been a fan of the wide range offered at Chablis’ Domaine Bernard Defaix. So when Didier (son of Bernard, who with his brother Sylvain oversees the domaine’s production today) asked if I would be interested in tasting the wines of the Rully domaine that his wife, Hélène, inherited in 2002, I replied with great eagerness. I’d tasted a wine or two here or there in New York, but I didn’t know much about them.

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