Friday, 25 June 2010

An Oaky Chardonnay from Sonoma California

I was sent a bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2006 the other week to review. According to the press release that came with the wine, it has gained a loyal following with sommeliers and restaurateurs alike in America, and is now available on these shores from Waitrose and Ocado.

The grapes used to make this wine come from all of their sites across the Russian River and Sonoma Valleys in California, this helps to create a more balanced and complex wine. Fermentation takes place in oak barrels and it is allowed to complete Malolactic (MLF) fermentation as well; this is where the tart malic acid is converted into the softer lactic acid, giving it a more rounded and buttery feel. The care and attention given to the wine making process has resulted in it winning a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge in 2009.

On pouring the wine you got a bright, lemony gold colour, while on the nose it had aromas of citrus, green fruit and cedar with a touch of ginger coming through in the background. To taste you got the same flavours as the aromas, classic of Chardonnay, green apple and citrus, you got really pronounced flavours of cedar which comes from the oak ageing. Unfortunately you didn’t get the usual butter feel as I would have expected, as it had gone through the MLF process, the only way you could tell was the very low level of acidity. There was a good length of flavours in your mouth, which all went on to produce a very well balanced wine.

This wine for me was too oaky in flavour for my taste, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that it is a very good wine. The only disappointing fact was that I was expecting a more creamy/buttery feel to the wine due to the MLF, but if you didn’t know it had gone through that process you wouldn’t have been disappointed.

If you like your whites oaky then this is definitely one to go for, if you don’t then stay well away from it.

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