Sometimes I feel I'm the last defender of California Chardonnay. Sure, I dislike the cheap oak-chip soaked stuff in the supermarket as much as you, but it's become a bit of a mission for me to seek out great Cal Chard lately. Partly, this is self preservation, as we drink a lot of white wine at my house and we can't drink Chassagne Montrachet every night. Now more than ever, with the Euro at hopefully it's peak, is the time to start seeking out high quality American Chardonnay.
Naturally, I'm here to tell you this is one of them.
I've gushed about the output of the Bien Nacido property before, but this one is really unusual. I would urge you to read the refreshingly honest winemaker notes on their site about this wine. The notes convey the struggle with a difficult batch of acidic fruit and the efforts to transform a struggling wine into something unusual and ultimately delicious.
This wine possesses almost a shocking acidity. If you are buying just by label shopping and rightly so, picking up the 2005 Bien Nacido offering on name and history only, you may expect something round and ripe with typical BN aromatics. But this one is different.
On the nose, you get the hit of vanilla from generous new oak barrel fermentation, but on the tongue, it's an explosion of pineapple and lemon tartness. It's a yin and yang kind of wine where you get the hit of New World treatment with some Old World pucker.
Highly recommended, especially with something like a quickly cooked wild coho salmon like we had tonight.