Chardonnay Reviews

2003 Mirassou Chardonnay Central Coast $ (8.99)    For those Chard fans of a lightly oaked wine, this one fits the bill.  Fruits of peach and green apple with a touch of vanilla make this one drinkable right now and not overpowering for light fish fare.  

1997 Pindar Chardonnay $(8.99)     A good bit of the fruit is gone by now and one might describe this as being flabby, but hints of the oaked tropical fruit flickered like embers in a dying campfire.  Buy and drink this one young.

1997 Forest Glen Sonoma Chardonnay $ (11.99)    This wine is in its Golden Years and the color is like honey with mellow tones of toast and vanilla and honey flavors.  Drink this now, before it slides into flabby flavorless juice.

1998 Mulderbosch Chardonnay $ (17.99) Maybe it’s the sun or the heat or the salt air breezes but this example from South Africa holds up well for those liking a bit of weight to their white wine.  Rich and buttery with a nice blend of acidity and fruit make this wine a great selection for those that want a bigger Chardonnay.

2000 Jacob’s Creek Semillon/Chardonnay $ (7.00)   A refreshing citrus and fruit dominated by lemon and apple flavors,  a great wine for the summer.  Aussie’s continue to thrill me with White.  

2000 Black Marlin Chardonnay $ (14.99 rest.)   This bargain chard from Aussieland is a good solid example of the creamy, buttery side of this white grape.  Good fruit with a balance of acid to make it a pleasant complement to Arctic Charr.  

2000 Wyndham Estates Chardonnay $ (8.99)   A pleasant Chardonnay with nice melon and grapefruit flavors and a pleasurable amount of oak to add body to this easy quaffing wine.
1997 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, The Cutrer, Sonoma County
$$ (27.99)   A golden yellow with plenty of wood and citrus fruit flavors.  This is a wine at its prime with a major “drink now” sign on it.  There is a pleasant mineral flavor on the finish.  

1997 Far Niente Chardonnay $$$ (60.00)   Oak is the word from start to finish, with a golden hue and flavors of melon, apricot and fig.  This wine has length and elegance but not for the weak at heart.  This wine has enough left to sit for another few years.  

1999 Wente Chardonnay, Livermore Valley $ (18.00)   The Wente family has been making great wine since 1936 and this is a prime example.  Generous bouquet of apples, pear and toasted oak.  This dry, medium-bodied Chard with balanced acid pours out a pale gold hue and loads your mouth with a creamy, vanilla, mineral and fruity elixir.  This carried the Salmon in a lemon, butter, white wine and dill superbly.  

1999 Fat Bastard Chardonnay $?  Keep the label, ditch the wine, enough said.

2000 Fleur du Cap Chardonnay $ (10.99)   A lime and citrus nose dance around the toasted oak bouquet of this wine.  Significantly acidic to be balanced with the citrus flavors.  The oak aging is delightful, but the body of this wine is surprisingly crisp.  No buttery, creamy body which this wine hints at with the nose and the first taste.  A clean crisp finish.  

2000 Wynns Conawarra Estates Chardonnay $ (8.99)    As I found out, this wine can age.  The 2000 is young but shows the creamy consistencey and strong structure that this winery consistently provides.  Buy this now and cellar a few bottles, this one will be better enjoyed in 2005.

1997 Wynns Conawarra Estates Chardonnay $ (11.00)   With 8 months in French oak, this wine delivers a butterscotch, nutty, smoke-enhanced creamy wine.  Great fruit with peach overtones, but it is the weightiness and finish of this wine that is so impressive.  

1997 Wente Chardonnay $ (11.00)    Pale-yellow in color, with flavors of vanilla, apple and minerals, this is a medium bodied wine.  The oak brings a warm toasted taste, and tannin.  It does not deliver the buttery, heaviness of the Aussie and French Chards.  

1998 Rodney Strong, Reserve Chalk Hill ChardonnayPrice $34.00 (CA Supermarket)  My last experience with Rodney’s Chard was positive so why not try the Reserve.  Well, this wine was no slouch, lots and lots of up front Apple and Pears and a crisp nose made this a very pleasant wine.  Perhaps not as buttery as the 1997 but what it lacked in texture it made up for in abounding flavor.  Some more time in the bottle would probably to the trick.  Rating 90.  Wino Hondo

1997 Rodney Strong, Chalk Hill Chardonnay$26.00 (CA Supermarket)  Smooth and not overly “oaked” Chardonnay.  This wine displayed a pleasant golden color in the glass and nose of fruit and butterscotch.  A supple mouth feel filled every sip, the finish lingered and provided a buttery sensation on the tongue.  Good value for the money.  Rating 90.  Wino Hondo

1999 Alice White Chardonnay $ (14.00)   Lacking the body, texture and creaminess I have found in other Australian Chards, this wine has good fruit, with peach, apricot and honeysuckle flavors.  A richer body and oak would enhance this wine greatly.  

1998 French Creek Ridge Chardonnay $ (11.00)     Oak gives this a body and creaminess with a classy vanilla flavor.  The length was disappointing since the set up is so strong.  I haven’t liked anything else from this winery yet, but this one was good.  

1996 Byron Estate Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley - I pulled this bottle out of the cellar thinking that I needed to consume than a traditional California chardonnay.  If you can find a bottle of this, I'd give it a 10 out of 10 and drink it now.  WinoWally 5/11/01

1998 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay Reserve $$ 35.00   Yellow-gold, medium weight and a smack of acidity greet you.  The acids mellow to reveal a clean crisp fruit flavor of apple and peaches.  A mild undertone of oak to add structure.

1997 Kistler Chardonnay Sonoma County $$ (47.00)    Golden yellow and powerful describe this chardonnay.  Rich and full-bodied, this ain’t your mama’s chardonnay.  Be ready, Kistler has a distinctive toasted caramel bouquet to me and a toasted vanilla flavor that sets this apart from the pack.  Kistler is a much sought after wine and their single vineyard Chards are out of this world.  This is a red wine in a skirt.  This is a big bold wine hiding in a hue of golden yellow.  If I were going to Wino Wally’s for dinner, Kistler would be the Chard I would present.

1998 Talbot, Sleepy Hollow Chardonnay.  $70.00 (rest.)  A reasonable Chard that lacked character and a defining taste.  The body was smooth with an acceptable amount of fruit, the finish did not linger the way you would expect with a premium Chard.  We actually had the waiter bring a bucket with ice to chill this bottle in an effort to make it more drinkable.  Rating 80  WinoHondo

1996 Ferrari-Carano Alexander Valley Chardonnay $$ (21.00)   This wine had a yellow-gold color with a medium weight and body to it.  A smokey lemon and vanilla aroma rose in the chimney of my glass.  The fruit was plentiful with a bit of an apple flavor.  Nice fruit-acid balance.  Should hold up well to zesty foods.

1995 Geyser Peak Reserve Alexander Valley Chardonnay $$ (28.00)   I did not get a lot of aroma from this wine which, for me, is the second most important item of the process.  This wine poured out a rich, golden hue indicating that, like us all, Father Time has worked on the youthfulness of this wine.  Somewhat flat and acidic, there was not a great deal of description I could give, though it still has a big, full body and a powerful alcohol kick.  Drink younger.  


1997 Cambria ChardonnayPrice $65.00 (Rest.)  A very nice, smooth Chard with lots of smoothness and just the right amount of Oak.  The first taste provides a Buttery texture with a crisp finish that displays a hint of green apple and pears.  Definitely worth a bottle of your own.  Rating 90.5  WinoHondo

1998 Iron Horse Chardonnay, Sonoma County, Green Valley $ (22.00)   A nose of citrus dominates your glass as you pour this wine.  The wine starts off with the acids muting the fruit, but a long finish reveals pear and peach flavors.  Not an oaken wine, this is lighter and crisper than most Chards I drink.  A solid wine once the acid rescinds.

1995 Grgich Hills Napa Valley Chardonnay $$ (26.00)    This wine poured out looking like a lager beer.  The rich golden color gave me the hint that I would find this white grape bold and big. This wine gave me the nose of pear and fine French oak.  This was a big-full wine that weighted on my tongue.  A strong backbone of oak makes this a wine for the red grape lover.  

1995 Palmer Vineyards Estate Chardonnay $ (11.99)  That’s 2.5 sommeliers on this one, yes it is a winner from the North Fork of Long Island.  This wine gave a great fruit nose and a strong Cortland apple and citrus flavor.  I do not think they carry this all over the country, it was hard to find in NJ, but this is worth the price if you can locate it.  Do not expect buttery rich weightiness from this chard, enjoy it for the fruit and low acidity.  

1997 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Chardonnay $ (11.00)  Yes, $11.00 and 3 mice says it all.  This wine has a rich full body, creamy texture and a great fruit-acid balance.  Again, $11 make this, in my humble opinion, a Great Wine….  For those who enjoy the high priced White Burgundies, this is no Grand Cru; however, for $11, this is one of the best white wines this red wine drinker has had to date.  Buy it, Drink it, Enjoy…  

1999 McPherson Chardonnay $ (7.95)     It gave off a strong, peachy nose and the fruit was there in the first taste.  The disappointment in this wine is that the taste did not last.  There was little left after 30 seconds on my palette.  The only reason I added the half mice is in the hopes that Elle McPherson personally stomped these grapes and the fact that the price was so low in the wine world these days.

1996 Mulderbosh Chardonnay $ (17.99)   This wine hails from the award-winning Stellenbosch Winery in South Africa.  The advertising write up on this wine is that this Chardonnay borders on the power of white Burgundy.  The wine did not carry the thick, creamy texture of the white Burgundies, nor did it have the power and silky smooth finish.  Had I not been thinking Burgundy, this was an OK chardonnay.  It finished a bit too harsh for me but the fruit acid balance was good.  

1998 Rombauer Chardonnay $$ (28.95)    This wine, from the fruity nose to the low acidity, had me enjoying this from the first taste.  It has length and a smooth finish.  The fruit lies all over this wine and my reluctance was to drink the 1998.  If the 98 was this good, I will be searching the shelves for any remaining 97, THE year for  California wine.   Not White Burgundy, no, this is a rich, oaked California Chard full with ripe fruit.  

Groth Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay 1997 - Firm oak backbone with butter and green apple flavors.  Could be mistaken for a White Burgundy.  From a vineyard best known for massive cabernets.  $17.99 and well worth it. 90 points

William Hill Napa Valley Chardonnay Reserve 1997 - Nice balance of citrus acidity with soft oak and green apple flavors.  Much better than their standard chard.  $12.88 on sale. 88 points.


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