Santa Rita 120 Chardonnay

Name: 120 Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: Chile
Year: 2011
Producer: Santa Rita
Price: $8.99

This is another wine I got at a grocery store for half off because it was going out of business. By the time I got there, all they had left was white wine and the vast majority of it was Chardonnay. The citizens of New Hampshire must share my general disdain for Chardonnay. I did also score a couple bottles of Sauvignon Blanc thanks to the diligent searching of my wife.

The name 120 is an ode to some freedom fighters in Chile who took shelter in a wine cellar. Makes sense, in the inevitable zombie apocalypse my first refuge would definitely be a wine cellar. Anyhow, this is an interesting Chardonnay. It’s unoaked, so it looks and tastes more akin to a Sauvignon Blanc. The color has a green tinge and the aroma is full of grass and minerals. Everything about the flavor is a little unripe, the apple and citrus flavors are of fruit that was taken a little too young. It’s a smooth flavor though and the long-ish finish is where a lot of the unripe fruit manifests. I can’t recommend this wine but it’s interesting enough that if you can score it for a discount like I did it’s worth a look.

Rex-Goliath Chardonnay

Name: Rex-Goliath
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: South Africa
Year: NV
Producer: HRM Rex-Goliath Winery
Price: $8.99

So it’s been a while since my last post here, I’ve been busy. If you check the dates you’ll see that’s absurd, I haven’t posted in 3 years. To be fair though, my last post was when my son was 1 and now he’s 4 and my daughter is 2, so I have been busy. I tasted a non-vintage Rex-Goliath Chardonnay today. I’ve been happy with Rex-Goliath in the past but rarely with Chardonnay, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Especially since I got it from a New Hampshire grocery store that was going out of business and had everything — including wine — half off. So I actually paid less than a five spot for this bottle.

The wine is a pale yellow, straw sort of color and the aroma is oaky. It is very smooth with subtle pear and citrus notes. The medium finish has a bit of acidity. Overall this is a serviceable Chardonnay, I’m just not a huge fan of Chardonnay. I’ve clearly forgotten a good bit of the vocabulary necessary to review wine but I can still find a sweet deal on a decent bottle!

Oak Vineyards Chardonnay

Name: Oak Vineyards
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2005
Producer: Oak Vineyards
Price: $4.00

Another $4 bottle, this is my third in a row. I’m going to have to drink a $20 bottle this weekend to cleanse my palate. This chard has a bright straw color but the clarity is a bit lacking. This is quite rare these days and since I’ve been reviewing I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a wine that didn’t have near perfect clarity. It looks like it is mildly carbonated but it isn’t, there are just lots of little bits of sediment floating around in the glass. Very strange. It settles if you let it sit but the sediment is still there. It smells stale and of apple. The flavor is sweet for a chardonnay and it has an oaky finish. I generally don’t care for oaky chardonnay but it’s not bad for four bucks a bottle if you can get past the clarity.

Stone Cellars Chardonnay

Name: Stone Cellars Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2006
Producer: Stone Cellars
Price: $5.00

Light yellow in color and has an aroma of Windex or glue, some kind of chemical I can’t put my finger on. Maybe a dry erase marker, that’s probably it. In any case, it doesn’t smell like wine. Fortunately there’s only a hint of that chemical on the flavor. It’s mostly soft fruit and oak. For a cheap Chardonnay I think it actually has a charming little flavor. Too bad about the aroma, if you can get past that give it a try.

Lindemans South Africa Chardonnay

Name: Lindemans South Africa Chardonnay
Type: White
Origin: South Africa
Year: 2005
Grape: Chardonnay
Producer: Lindemans
Price: $6.99

The bottle makes the color look dark yellow but it is actually a light yellow hue. It smells like a piece of watermelon candy. The flavor doesn’t deliver on that promise at all. It isn’t the least bit sweet and the melon flavor is barely detectable and more like honeydew than watermelon. The flavor is also citrusy and quite tart. Not my favorite Chard but hey, it was only $7. The bottle and aroma just write checks the flavor can’t cash.

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Francis Coppola Gold Label Chardonnay

Name: Francis Coppola Gold Label Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2005
Producer: Francis Coppola Diamond Collection
Price: $11.99

I tried a Coppola Pinot Noir that I really liked so I picked up a Chardonnay of the same label. Smells of pear and vanilla, pretty strongly if you let it warm to room temperature. I don’t know how you take your Chardonnay, but it’s the one white wine that I highly recommend drinking at or near room temperature. You just don’t get the same experience from it otherwise. This one has flavors of exotic fruits and vanilla, with an astringent kick on the finish. I don’t like a lot of Chardonnays, but this one is pretty good.

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Yalumba Wild Ferment Chardonnay

Name: Yalumba Wild Ferment Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: Australia
Year: 2005
Producer: Yalumba
Price: $10.99

This is another one that I bought from Central Liquors in New Jersey. The reviews were good and the name is a little exotic. “Wild ferment” doesn’t exactly sound appealing but it does sound exotic. The nose is potent, with red apple and cinnamon notes. The flavor is multifaceted, starting smooth and turning to citrus and spice on the palate. There are also oaky notes and a lengthy finish. A very nice Chard for $10 or so.

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San Telmo Chardonnay

Name: San Telmo Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: Argentina
Year: 2005
Producer: Bodega Cruz de Piedra
Price: $6.00

I keep smelling this particular aroma in a number of wines. I sure wish I could describe it better. The best I can do is to say it smells like unripe grapes and chemicals. This is the first time I’ve smelled it on a Chardonnay and it usually doesn’t precede a great flavor. This one is no exception. It also tastes like unripe fruit and
has a very astringent bite before the unfortunate lingering finish. Ugh, this is truly awful Chard.

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Jewel Collection Un-Oaked Chardonnay

Name: Jewel Collection Un-Oaked Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2004
Producer: Jewel
Price: $9.99

I’ve taken to un-oaked Chardonnay lately. Minus the oak, I tend to like the grape a lot better. It is more similar to Sauvignon Blancs in flavor than to other, oaked Chardonnays. This one has a golden hue and a dense aroma of apricot and gold raisins. The flavor starts very smooth and then develops a real zing that magnifies as it sits on the palate and really lingers on the finish. Very nice.

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Toasted Head Chardonnay

Name: Toasted Head Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2005
Producer: R.H. Phillips Vineyards
Price: $12.99

Toasted Head is sort of a trendy wine in its category, but the style is your standard oaky California Chardonnay. It is straw colored and the aroma is tart and has hints of vanilla. The flavor has some exotic fruit that I can’t quite place. It ends with a toasted oak flavor that I don’t like, but a lot of folks do so don’t let my preference stop you. This Chard is above average.

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