04 July 2012

Wente Chardonnays

Another quick note: there's a new article up at Serious Eats on my favorite local Mexican torta.

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Time once again for another tasting with Karl Wente and lots of fellow winebloggers at TasteLive. We've participated in a lot of these, and at this point we have a pretty chummy tasting group.

The theme for this tasting was Chardonnay in its various forms. There's not just one way to enjoy this white grape, and Karl talked about the different production methods while the rest of us communicated in the chat log and on Twitter.

2010 Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay
Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay
$13, 13.5% abv.
Fresh apricot with a big mouthfeel and just a bit of acidity. Lots of fruit. Half oak, half stainless steel. It's a great entry-level Chardonnay that will work well with all sorts of chicken dishes.

2011 Wente Eric's Chardonnay
Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay
$22, 13.1% abv.
All stainless steel fermentation, so this wine was light and refreshing with mild aromas. Overall profile of apples and pears with a light mouthfeel and a soft finish. Great summer wine.

2010 Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay
Arroyo Seco, Monterey
$20, 13.5% abv.
Getting into some serious oak with this one. The nose starts out with floral elements before revealing the buttery vanilla undertones. Well rounded with a medium body and a long finish. A classic California Chardonnay.

2010 Wente Nth Degree Chardonnay
Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay
$45, 13.6% abv.
Nth was always my favorite Scrabble word for grabbing a few points in a tight corner without vowels. This is a remarkable wine that combines tropical elements like pineapple and orange flower with a great balanced oak structure. It is decidedly New World but has incredible structure. Just enough acidity, just enough oak, and just enough fruit... While it's much better at cellar temperature I did enjoy sipping on this one for a while one rainy afternoon.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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