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Three Chardonnay From Chateau St Jean


As part of our ongoing quest to find affordable California Chardonnay we tried the 2009 Chateau St Jean, Belle Terre Vineyard and Robert Young Vineyard.  Both of these are single-vineyard wines with the former undergoing malolactic fermentation while the later does not.  In reviewing my tasting notes they do read rather decent.  They are lighter in a sense with interesting flavors but the barrel notes seemed obvious and offset.  It kept distracting me.

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As if by intuition Julia gave me a bottle of the 2004 Reserve, Robert Young Vineyard.  I do not drink much aged Chardonnay so I had no idea what to expect.  It turned out to be quite good!  There are similarities between the 2004 Reserve and the 2009 regular Chardonnay.  But the quality of the fruit is better and so is the overall integration with the 2004 Reserve.  What struck me most is how fresh and lively it was.  Now this bottle was pulled from Julia’s EuroCave so storage was ideal.   I should think this will drink well for another five years or so.  Thank you Julia!  The two 2009 Chateau St Jean bottles were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2009 Chateau St Jean,  Chardonnay, Belle Terre Vineyard, Alexander Valley – $22
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which barrel fermented, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for eight months in 55% new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.4%.  The color was a light golden straw.  The light to medium strength nose revealed yellow fruit, texture, and a little toast.  In the mouth there were somewhat weighty flavors riding on a wave of acidity.  There was a little bramble at first then acidity came through.  The flavors smooth out as ripe yellow and white fruit integrated with barrel toast.  The flavors are a bit tart in the middle with a citrus note.  It eventually shows more minerals as the flavors dry out leaving a lipstick finish.  ** Now.

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2009 Chateau St Jean, Chardonnay, Robert Young Vineyard, Alexander Valley – $22
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which did not undergo malolactic fermentation and was aged in oak.  Alcohol 14.4%.  The nose was light with yellow fruit, butter, and spiced fruit.  In the mouth the flavors are weighty and begin with interesting, spiced fruit.  There are lemon flavors in the middle as it becomes more exotic.  There is a little low-lying barrel note in the aftertaste.  ** Now-2014.

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2004 Chateau St Jean, Chardonnay, Reserve, Robert Young Vineyard, Alexander Valley –
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was barrel fermented then aged sur lie.  Alcohol 14.6%.  The color was a light to medium golden-yellow.  There was a very light nose.  In the mouth the wine starts with honied weight to the fat, yellow fruit, and spiced pears.  There is acidity from the beginning with barrel notes poking through.  The back of the throat salivates as the barrel note returns.  There is a nice mouthfeel with some freshness, good integration, and lemon notes.  Surprisingly it is rather youthful.  *** Now-2018.

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