Smoky, graphite nose, pencil eraser and charcoal, clean and briary, ridden with beurre blanc and the sort of grassy sauciness typically reserved for Sancerre. An earthiness defying all imaginations of peat and volcano brings crystal-rockiness and diamond-cutting to mind.
So many people hear “Chardonnay” and instantly form a mental image. I’m here to tell you there are SOOOO many Chardonnays in the world–or even California alone–which lie so far out of the ENTIRE SUPERMARKET 5-SHELF AISLE OF YELLOW, if you’ve never happened upon one, I beg you PLEASE try and once you are hooked, the desire will be insatiable. The 80’s are over, and people who still Chardonnay-shame get an asterisk. I’m not even saying you need to drink Chablis or Burg–there are PLENTY of ridiculous clean bright chards in California. Very few of them will be on a supermarket aisle though. Go to your wine shop and ask. It’s not difficult to find.
And this is one of them. One of the old-school ones. I’m actually serving this wine with rib-eye tonight. And not because it is a huge oaky buttery monster: THAT wouldn’t work at ALL. No, because it is serious heavy acidic stuff with crazy fruit, incredible structure, and the complexity to work with red meat.
In the mouth, a plasticine stay-krisp coating on rich fruit positively bursting at all of its acidic seams. All that funk and earth in the nose translates straight into a grimy dirty-baby-diaper of loveliness, compounding the nectarine and dried apricot, driving it hard against walnut shell and Oolong tea where chardonnay dreams really exist. Sweet and delicate in the finish, an almost Riesling-or-Gewurztraminer nectar situation closing things out–but with bitter grip.
If you can’t stop hating Chardonnay, you are NOT drinking the right ones.
2015 SMITH-MADRONE Chardonnay Spring Mt. Napa Valley 14.4