August 2, 2006 |
Greg Brewer of Brewer-Clifton has a good thing going with his new project Diatom. Using fruit from the famous Clos Pepe vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills, he has made a thrilling Chardonnay. The idea is to let the pure expression -- what he calls the voice -- of the terroir come through by eliminating everything extraneous. He doesn't use any oak, for example.
June 14, 2006 |
White Burgundy isn't just high-priced, sublime Meurseult or Montrachet. It's also this eminently drinkable, lean and sinewy Bourgogne Blanc "Les Femelottes" from Chavy. The grapes come from old vines, and as a result this Chardonnay has an intensity and crisp mineral quality that makes for perfect summer drinking. I had it recently with steamed purple-tipped artichokes dipped in a little green-gold olive oil with fleur de sel and a squirt of lemon.
December 4, 2005 |
SQUISHED together like grapes in a harvesting crate, the weekend wine-tasters are crawling along clogged California 29 through the Napa Valley. The olive trees lining the road whisper of the Other Napa, but the Chardonnay sippers don't know to listen. It's olive pressing season, time to taste a different type of vintage -- the extra virgin kind. Across California, frantoios (that's Italian and insider lingo for an olive press) are coaxing liquid gold out of midnight-colored fruit.
November 30, 2005 |
Supple and graceful, the 2003 Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay is deceptive. It drinks expensive but carries an astonishingly modest price tag. From one of the top wineries in South Africa, the Rustenberg Chardonnay is barrel-fermented and aged in French oak, very like Mt. Eden in style. With its silken texture, lively acidity and beguiling aroma of white peaches and citrus, this is one Chardonnay that plays well with food.
September 7, 2005 |
Wine buffs on the prowl for a Burgundian-style Chardonnay made in California may have long lost hope of finding a bottle for less than $70. You can pretty much forget Napa and Sonoma. But the Santa Cruz Mountains, where winemaking goes back to the 1860s, still has a few jewels. Mount Eden's Estate Chardonnay, from a mountain vineyard first planted in the 1940s, is one of them.
August 17, 2005 |
In the wine world, few topics are more boring than clones. Developed in laboratories, propagated like fruit flies with cuddly names such as "76" and "95," clones represent the wine world at its most clinical. Talking about wine in terms of clones is like talking about a Ferrari in terms of camshafts. And yet among winemakers, there is no hotter topic.
June 1, 2005 |
The country road unfurls through a misty landscape of giant trees and meadows dotted with grazing deer. Vines appear to one side, and then a weathered old barn in a grove of redwoods. A glimpse of stacked wooden barrels through the open barn doors tells you the place is a winery, and a small sign invites you to come in and taste. Accept the invitation and you may well encounter world-class wines, especially Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The scene is typical of Sonoma County's wine country.
May 10, 2005 |
What do women want? A winery took up the age-old question and came up with this answer: a lower-alcohol wine. The new product, White Lie Early Season Chardonnay, bucks the trend of wines that carry a hefty alcoholic punch. It has an alcohol content of 9.8%, compared with the 13% and 14% found in some vintages.
May 8, 2005 |
The approach to Thomas Fogarty Winery was just this side of too bucolic. Lupine and poppies lined the driveway, trellised wisteria hung over the picnic tables and swans (swans!) glided around a pond filled with lily pads. Inside the tasting room, a wall of windows faced steep vine-covered hills. Unbelievably, my husband, Ken, and I had the place to ourselves.
March 23, 2005 |
The first time my wife tasted Marcassin Chardonnay, her eyes glowed and she began smiling as if she'd won the lottery -- or signed a big movie deal. I wasn't writing about wine then and had never heard of Marcassin -- the Chardonnay we tasted was a '91, only Marcassin's second vintage -- so I asked the man who brought the bottle to dinner how I could get some. He explained that you had to get on the winemaker's private mailing list and since he'd gotten to know the couple that runs Marcassin, he was able to get us on that list.