2005 Fritz Russian River Chardonnay

Price: $30.00 @ Friend/Gift

What They Said:

Per the winery “A classic golden straw-colored Chardonnay, showing a full body with the elegance of a crisp finish influenced by the coastal fog the Russian River Valley. This wine features a beautiful balance of tropical fruits, mineral notes, oak and bright lively acidity.

This balance will offer fullness in the mouth, without being unctuous, and ends in a delicate lingering finish.”

What I Think:

This was a very interesting Chardonnay, darker in color and minerally on the nose. On the tongue it was almost slightly syrupy, I think this comes from spending some time aging on the skins. In the mouth it tastes of peach, apples and lemon that lingered briefly before the oak took over. Per the winery it was aged 100% in Oak with 40% being new. Not sure if that is a lot or not. I will have to pay some attention moving forward to see what ratio it takes to remove this from my flavor profile when it comes to Chardonnay.

Rating: Pricey

2004 Evans & Tate Unwooded Chardonnay Underground Series

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Scott Street Portfolio

What They Said:

Per sfgate.com “Evans & Tate is based in the picturesque sub-appellation of Margaret River, which with its cool maritime-influenced climate is similar to Bordeaux. One of the region’s well-known producers, Evans & Tate recently launched the Underground Series line of wines. Grapes for the series come not only from Margaret River, but also the larger wine region of Western Australia.

A common sight in Australia, unwooded or unoaked Chardonnays are becoming popular here. Since no oak barrels were used, this zesty white is packed with melon and green apple fruitiness. As the Aussies would say, both are ideal “verandah wines” for sipping al fresco.

Try this lively, elegant, perfumed, light-to-medium-bodied Chardonnay offering fine tropical, lime, and pear fruit with an fine mineral component and a refreshing balance. Long and clean, it develops nicely in the glass.Fine. Bear’s Score: 88 points.”

What I Think:

While in Australia I we tried a few good unwooded chards that made me think that this might be my answer.  This one wasn’t quite what I was after.  The fruit up front wasn’t up to par and more importantly the mineral flavors on the backend quickly leaving you with a cold tongue.  I’ll thought about rating this 12th bottle just because TJ’s doesn’t have any other unwooded options but I don’t really want to see this in my house again.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Hogue Columbia Valley Washington State Chardonnay

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the winery “During the grape growing season, Eastern Washington boasts warm summer days followed by cool nights, ensuring that grapes ripen fully while retaining ample natural acidity. Our 2003 Chardonnay shows that classic balance. Aromas are of pear, citrus vanilla, cream, and hazelnut. The wine has complex Chardonnay character. Bright pear and cream flavors abound on the palate with a roundness acquired from the barrel fermented portion (31%). The finish is crisp. This would be a great accompaniment to broiled wild King salmon or fettuccini with a white clam sauce.”

What I Think:

Given my hate hate relationship with Chardonnay I am quick to look for those outside of the California area. This effort is slightly outside the norm. The nose doesn’t set it apart nor does the initial splash on the palate. But as the oak fades a racy citrus comes through that takes it down a different course. While not spectactular I could see a bottle of this sneaking in to my cart sometime in future. As a side note I am a huge fan of Hogue, especially some of their reds. Don’t hesitate to give any of their bottles a try as I have never be disappointed.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2005 Kunde Estate Chardonnay

Price: $9.99 @ Friend/Gift

What They Said:

Per wine.com “Soft and round with a vibrant mix of fruit flavors, this elegantly styled Chardonnay lets its green apple and melon nuances play out on a gentle frame of toast and vanilla. The ripe fruit is highlighted by a subtle herb component that gives added complexity to its lengthy finish.”

What I Think:

We had some friends over for dinner last night and this bottle arrived with them. Was in TJ’s a few days ago and looking for white wines in particular. I picked this one up but passed. I am not a huge California Chardonnay fan so the price point was a bit much for me. If you are a fan though, certainly give this one a try. On a side note, how much Chardonnay do they have at TJ’s, wow? There has to be some good cheap ones, any suggestions?

Rating: Skip It

2004 Charles Creek Las Patolitas Chardonnay

Price: $21.99 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per the winery “Vanilla and honey are the first impressions when approaching our Las Patolitas 2004 Chardonnay. The aromas of peach and summer soon follow as the wine opens and reveals the complexity of this hand crafted Chardonnay. The flavors are pure Chardonnay; fruit forward and brimming with vanilla and mineral. Bright mineral structure defines the lush plump flavors, followed in the palate with a full mouth feel. The finish is well defined and satisfying, with lingering peach and vanilla.”

What I Think:

Had a friend bring this over and it was quite nice. He picked it up at the winery. It was quite nice for Chardonnay, not one of my favorites, especially the California variety. This has a nice mineral undertone and minimized the amount of Oak. I was amazed to the see in the write up the number of different vineyards that are included in this bottle. A bit “dear” on the price tag but certainly a worth while wine.

Rating: Pricey