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Thursday, May 26, 2011

2008 d'Arenberg The Stump Jump Sticky Chardonnay

Here's a Chardonnay dessert wine that you will love and your bank account will thank you.  The 2008 d'Arenberg The Stump Jump Sticky Chardonnay (375 ml bottle) is medium to dark yellow in the glass and has lifting aromas of apricot, peach and and orange zest.  In the glass is a very rich full bodied offering of flavors that include peach, honey, lemon custard, apple, dried fig and tangerine.  I tasted this very well chilled, which is how I prefer my dessert wines, and this was delicious.  This wine could serve as dessert itself or be paired with cheeses or lighter cakes. 

About d'Arenberg Winery:
d'Arenberg Wines are distributed in the United States by Old Bridge Cellars of Napa, California.  You can also purchase d'Arenberg wines directly from their web site.

ABV:  10.5%
Country:  Australia
Retail Price:  $12.99
Score:  89

2009 Peter Franus Chardonnay Napa Valley

The 2009 Peter Franus Chardonnay is a fine example of Napa Valley Chardonnay.  This wine is bright golden in the glass and exhibits aromas of warm spring rain, apple, orange blossom, toasted almonds and fragrant vanilla.  The flavors of citrus fruits and spices give way to warm buttery toast and the rich flavors are framed by a well defined and crisp acidity.  The finish is long and sustainable.  Lovely wine!

About Peter Franus:
Since the release of their first wine in 1987, the goal of Peter Franus has always been the same - to produce delicious and reasonably priced wines that distinguish themselves from the ocean of wine in the marketplace.

ABV:  14.1%
AVA:  Napa Valley

Cases Produced:  70
Retail Price:  $32.00
Score:  93

2008 Krupp Brothers Chardonnay

Krupp Brothers has again proven that their dedication to extraordinary winemaking is evident by the wine drinking experience you get in a bottle of their wines.  The 2008 Chardonnay is a very well textured and complex wine with distinct aromas and flavors that are evident of the terroir and winemaking processes.  This wine was made sur lie to provide texture and richness, and they have succeeded.  Peach and plum fruits combine with minerals, lemon meringue, melon and grapefruit and the aromas are very inviting.  On the palate is a well rounded and full bodied flavor combination of citrus fruits, ripe melons, toasted almonds, tangerine, and a buttery warm biscuit.  I love how these flavors are balanced and dance in your mouth with just the right acidity, leaving you wanting more after the very long and inviting finish.  Superb!

ABV:  14.6%
AVA:  Napa Valley
Cases Produced:  237
Retail Price:  $45.00
Score:  95

2010 Chamisal Vineyards Stainless Chardonnay

The Chamisal Vineyards unoaked Chardonnay is a popular wine, and is justifiably so.  In fact they ramped up production from 7000 cases in 2009 to 12000 cases in 2010!  Despite the fact that this Chardonnay never saw wood, they succeeded in producing a fuller bodied wine than what you would expect.  So, for that, it has appeal to the oak and non-oak fans.  The 2010 vintage starts out crisp with aromas of fresh citrus and tropical fruits, including a nice concentration on grapefruit.  In the mouth is a huge fruit basket of flavors that blend beautifully.  There is so much fruit in this Chardonnay that it almost becomes a game of picking out the flavors.  I love this wine and how it smooths out just enough at the end, but provides you with a finish that lingers for minutes.

About Chamisal Vineyards:
The historic Chamisal property was the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley appellation in 1973.  Their historic 80-acre proerty is planted to mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, with a few acres of Syrah, Grenache, and Pinot Gris.  Their goal is to simply reflect the natural characteristics of their historic estate through their wines.

ABV:  13.5%
AVA:  Central Coast
Cases Produced:  12000
Retail Price:  $18.00
Score:  89

2009 Seven of Hearts Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills

This 2009 Chardonnay from Seven of Hearts Wines is a medium golden color and has deep aromas of pears, tangerine, pineapple and toast.  In the glass is a very tasty and full mouth that provides complex flavors of citrus bouquet, buttered toast, a touch of minerals and sweet vanilla cookies.  This wine is very well made and is rich in flavors and full of smooth dense texture.  The finish is refreshing and silky smooth.

ABV:  15.7%
AVA:  Eola Amity Hills
Cases Produced:  224
Retail Price:  $24.00
Score:  91

2009 Hagafen Chardonnay Oak Knoll Distict Napa Valley

The 2009 vintage Hagafen Chardonnay Oak Knoll District is a consistent performer that is a palate pleaser and a "must have" wine for the warmer months.  Beautiful pale yellow in color, the wine lifts aromas of apple, kiwi, and passionfruit.  You get a medium bodied mouthfeel with bright flavors of apple, fresh pineapple, a little bit of mineral and apricot with subtle nuances of oak.  This wine is refreshing and delicious with a prolonged finish that works well with grilled fish and scallops.

About Hagafen Cellars:
Hagafen continues to be one of my personal favorite wineries in the Napa Valley.  Where most wineries in the valley concentrate mostly on red wines, Hagafen has continuously succeeded in making world class, highly celebrated and acclaimed white wines in a predominant "red" part of the world.  If you get to Napa, you need to visit them!

ABV:  12.0%
AVA:  Napa Valley

Cases Produced:  600
Retail Price:  $24.00
Score:  91

2009 Rodney Strong Chardonnay Chalk Hill

The 2009 Rodney Strong Chardonnay celebrates California Chardonnay with its classic look, feel and taste.  This medium golden wine presents aromas of pineapple, pear, exotic spices and vanilla.  There is a nice creamy texture that develops into a crispness mid palate, brought on by flavors of citrus and tropical fruits, toasted oak, lightly sweetened vanilla and defined minerals.  This wine is a true pleasure to drink and can be found is most retail outlets around the US.  Great wine!

About Rodney Strong Vineyards:
Rod Strong was the first to plant Chardonnay in 1965 in what would later be recognized as the Chalk Hill American Viticultural Area (AVA).  This AVA was officially established in 1983.  He recognized the region as distinct from the rest of the Russian River Valley for its unique chalky white soils, which impart a subtle mineral character to the wines grown there.

ABV:  13.5%
AVA:  Chalk Hill
Retail Price:  $20.00
Score:  90

2010 Ca'Momi Chadonnay

Don't let the price on this Chardonnay fool you into thinking it is an entry level drinker just to wet your whistle.  The 2010 vintage Napa Valley Chardonnay from Ca'Momi is a well balanced and medium bodied golden Chardonnay with a lot to offer.  On the nose is a well balanced and exciting combination of citrus fruits, pear, and vanilla.  In the mouth is a creamy start of flavors that include tropical fruits, citrus, butterscotch candy and a touch of toasty oak.  The lively acidity is dominant towards the back of the palate, creating a very long finish that is impressive and enjoyable.  While Chardonnay is considered a food wine, I think this one is best served well chilled with a light snack.

ABV:  13.9%
AVA:  Napa Valley
Retail Price:  $16.99
Score:  90

2009 Talbott Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard

The 2009 Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay from Talbott Vineyards is a beautiful golden wine with fragrant aromas of warm peaches, citrus and honeysuckle.  In the mouth is a very luscious full bodied feeling that is complimented by flavors of citrus fruit, toasted nuts, peaches and a hint of violet.  The flavors mesh very nicely and this young wine provides a long lasting finish.  Just released!

About Talbott Vineyards:
Talbott Vineyards produces red and white wines from their estate vineyards in the Carmel Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands AVA.  They have a tasting room in the Carmel Valley.

ABV:  14.9%
ABA:  Santa Lucia Highlands
Retail Price:  $40.00
Score:  92

Sunday, May 22, 2011

2001 Kathryn Kennedy Cuvee Twenty Seven Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine

I was thrilled at the opportunity to taste and review the first sparkling wine for the Kathryn Kennedy Winery, called Cuvee Twenty-Seven in honor of Kathryn's birth year.  It was evident from the opening of the bottle that Marty Mathis had taken extraordinary care in seeing that this wine honored his mother's legacy.  This sparkling wine is a beautiful golden color in the glass and has superb micro bubbles and an aroma that immediately fills the glass.  Cooked golden apples, lemon curd and pear are the dominant aromas.  In the mouth is a joyous explosion of bubbles in an initially dry wine that provides a crispness against a backdrop of pear, mineral, hazlenut and toasted wheat cracker.  I revisited this wine about an hour later once the temperature came up in the glass a bit.  The bubbles were still exploding in the glass and the notes were consistent, with the addition of a creamier mouthfeel towards the back palate and stronger lemon notes.  This Blanc de Blanc is a real winner!

About Kathryn Kennedy Winery:
Kathryn Kennedy Winery has been chosen as the May 2011 Winery of the Month by the Midwest Wine Guy.  See the story on this web site.

ABV:  12.5%
AVA:  Santa Cruz Mountains

Retail Price:  To Be Released Summer 2011
Score:  93

2007 Galante Vineyards Kick Ass Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2007 vintage Kick Ass Cabernet from Galante Vineyards is a straight forward every day Cabernet that won't break the bank and will leave you raising your eyebrows.  This wine is a medium purple blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot from Galante's Carmel Valley Estate Vineyards.  For just $12 US per bottle you get a low alchohol Cabernet with aromas of plum and blackberry.  In the mouth is a very full feel and flavors of plum, coffee bean, soy sauce and dusty leather.  The tannins are in check and the finish is just long enough for you to come back for more.

About Galante Vineyards:
Galante Vineyards uses estate fruit for their wines.  They create several varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Petit Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc and more.  Galante Vineyards would like to remind you to drink up stream from the herd!

ABV:  12.5%
AVA:  Carmel Valley
Retail Price:  $12.00
Score:  89