I must admit that it is not easy for a California Chardonnay to gain my attention. But not this 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay, from Robert Mondavi Winery.
So many Chardonnays are dull and one-dimensional or overblown, over-oaked and and overly alcoholic. But this Chardonnay is deliciously refreshing (and I do not say that lightly), vibrant and packed with flavor. Not bad value either at $20 or less.
On the nose the aromas are ripe, but not blowsy, showing subtle restraint - toasty macaroon, vanilla custard, grapefruit, pear and cantaloupe. The attack is crisp, juicy and refreshing. A very balanced wine, with oodles of bright citrusy and orchard fruit flavors. It is clean and focused, with a solid structure. The oak is evident, but is very well integrated, and adds complexity and definition to the wine. Medium bodied with a moderately long length, with just a whiff of sweetness on the finish.
At the Table
Chardonnay is a very versatile wine when it comes to food, especially if it is not too powerful or overly oaked (when it kills the food). I can see this wine on plenty of Thanksgiving tables, as it will pair really well with the turkey, as well as various roast vegetables. It is also juicy and refreshing enough to serve as the pre-dinner drink or with nibbles.
About Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay
Robert Mondavi hardly needs any introduction. Legendary, he was one of California's most seminal wine figures. This 2010 Napa Chardonnay actually has about 3% Sauvignon Blanc in the blend (this is totally legal), which adds to the vibrancy of the wine. Most of it was barrel fermented and barrel aged sur lie, but about 25% was fermented in stainless steel, to retain brightness and a vibrant fruit profile.
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant.
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