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Three From 1997

Back in 2001 I drank the 1997 Nichols Chardonnays and enjoyed them. Curiosity got the better of me so I decided to try them again along with the Swanson Syrah. The Swason Syrah was by far the best of the three wines and certainly useful to drink as a reference point but not one I’d buy again. I didn’t much care for the Nichols.

1997 Nichols, Chardonnay, Talley Vineyards, Arroyo Grande Valley – $23
This is fermented and aged in 100% oak. A honey-yellow color that is lighter than the Soleil. A very light floral nose. There are faint toast overtones but the soft tropical fruit comes across. There is a pleasant light finish, that slowly develops.

1997 Nichols, Soleil & Terroir Chardonnay, La Colline Vineyard, Arroyo Grande Valley – $23
This too is fermented and aged in 100% French oak for 12 months. A light, golden yellow in the glass. A light nose of toasty-oak, somewhat sour. In the mouth an oak-fest with minimal fruit followed by a toasty oak finish.

1997 Swanson, Syrah, Napa Valley – $28
This is still primary in aroma and flavor. There are tart, dark fruits in the mouth that fade to some tannins and moderate acidity. I was surprised that it comes across as a lighter bodied wine. In short, this wine is surviving rather developing complexity.


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