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Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Valley’

Tasting Californian Chardonnay for the Summer

Here are notes on three current releases of Californian Chardonnay which we considered for summer drinking.  All three are from the cooler and low-yield 2010 vintage and available for approximately $20 per bottle.  I have looked to Stuhlmuller in past vintages but just could not get excited by this vintage.  The Scott and Reata were a bit better.  The Reata bears tropical fruit with ripeness and acidity too match, making it the biggest of the three yet still interesting enough for a pre-dinner glass.  The Scott shows more restraint to its tropical fruit and toast notes, giving it a style that is easier to drink.

2010 Stuhlmuller Vineyards, Chardonnay Estate, Alexander Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay fermented with indigenous yeast, 45% underwent malolactic fermentation, aged eight moths sur lie in 7% new French oak barrels and casks.  The color is a very light yellow straw.  The light nose is fresh with some texture, eventually developing tooty-fruity aromas.  In the mouth the tart yellow fruit mixed with plenty of acidity, almost a puckering wine with a wood, toast note.  Tastes young. ** Now-2015.

2010 Scott Family Estate, Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco
This wine is 100% Chardonnay Dijon clones which underwent malolactic fermentation and was ages sue lie.  This is a light to medium golden-yellow in color.  The sweet floral nose bears the hints of toast well.  In the mouth the yellow fruit has a round feel, a slight pineapple/tropical undertone.  There is a soft personality and some toast influence.  This held very well in the bottle over several days. ** Now-2015.

2010 Reata, Chardonnay, Carneros
This is a very light yellow color.  The nose reaveals spiced apples and wood notes.  In the mouth there is almost tropical yellow fruit which reveals acidity-driven ripeness.  Perhaps minerally there are toast notes, some sweet spice, and a roundish character.  There is a chunky textured aftertaste which is rather long.  The apple-like acidity appears with some spices. ** Now.

Derby Day Wines

Animal Kingdom, Kentucky Derby, 07 May 2011

We went to our neighbor’s house to watch the Kentucky Derby and eat a grilled dinner. While my daughter was off placing her winning bet on Animal Kingdom, I sampled some of the wines.


2003 Louis Roederer, Brut, Champagne
Robust and rich, the fruit balanced out the acidity,  good quality fizz.  This disappeared quickly.  Not Rated.


2007 Domaine La Cabotte, Cuvee Garance, Cotes du Rhone Villages, Massif d’Uchaux
This domaine was purchased twenty years ago.  Cabotte refers to huts built in fields used to store tools or provide shelter.  The domaine is in the process of converting to a biodynamic operation.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 20% Syrah.  It showed steely, light clean blue fruit flavors.  The Mourvedre and Syrah definitely revealed themselves.  This seemed somewhat shutdown.  Not Rated.

2008 Stuhlmuller Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley
This wine offer primary, round blue fruits with some spice.    It is a polished wine that is balanced all around.  It is close to being full-bodied.  It is a good wine but not exciting.  I would cellar it a few years.  Not Rated.


2009 The House of Independent Producers, La Bourgeoisie, Merlot, Columbia Valley
This wine is 100% Merlot from the Goose Ridge Vineyard in Columbia Valley.  The project aims to showcase different vineyards throughout the state.  This bottle had a decent nose of red berries and herbs.  In the mouth it had redder fruit than the Hedges Red Mountain.  It is light to medium bodied with red and blue fruit in the mouth, more herbs, and decent finish.  It is relatively low alcohol and easy to drink.  A good budget wine.  Not Rated.

2008 Hedges, Red Mountain
This wine is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 14% Syrah, 11% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Malbec.  It was the most aromatic of the reds I tasted.  It show good dark fruit and nice complexity.  I preferred it to the Stuhlmuller.  Not Rated.

2003 Torbreck, Woodcutter’s Shiraz, Barossa Valley
Several years ago I bought six magnums on closeout from Wide World of Wines.  It has been a few years since Jenn and I last tasted this wine.  This magnum was quite nice, entering maturity, and offering ample aromas and flavors.  Some olive notes, sour red cherry, and a decent finish.  Not Rated.