Green acrid burnt rubber, an awkward green fig and charcoal, fried bananas in a salty sewer reduction? I mean–what IS that smell? It’s crisp and sharp and at the same time bitter and woody. Mind you I haven’t tasted it yet. Yes, I just said “bitter smelling”. It’s not a bad smell. I actually kinda like it. I liked it from the beginning–I’m just kinda speechless about it. Is that oak? If so, it’s the weirdest oak in a chard this boy has ever smelled. It’s the oddest smell. Briary and pitchy and burnt. But not necessarily unpleasant. Trying to keep an open mind here.
People are always shocked when they hear me say Oregon Chardonnay is rare down here. Oh sure, there’s a couple big-house darlings in the supermarket–out of a facing of maybe 250 you might find 2? They just don’t come down here. I assume there’s a ton of it up there, right? I mean–in Pinot country ANYWHERE in California, there’s usually at LEAST half-as-many bottles of the golden juice from every producer. I assume OR’s the same way? One thing for sure: none of them make it down here. This is a bit of an oddball–I used to be a HUGE La Crema fan. I remember tasting in their little place out on River Road. Now they’re all in town and JFW and fancy. Was kinda surprised when I saw the OR bottling. It wasn’t super cheap either.
Can’t wait to taste it. Got this thing nailed down at a perfect 52° and it enters clean and cool and NIIIICE. But now I have an answer to my oak question. Yes. I think part of the nose is oak. There certainly is plenty in the wine. Clean and nice, but not much bright fruit–and even less acidity. Everything is stewed and cooked, oak and rich vanilla butter and oh my: heat in the finish. Wow. That was a bit of a surprise. I was actually planning on ending this thing with fairly favorably things to say, but the finish caught me off guard. A sharp pang of lemony heat–I guess that’s the acid?–hits the tongue late and propels a thinking person into the dumpster, while the #youcansipwithus crowd will concentrate only on the rich, lush dessert finish.
2014 LA CREMA Chardonnay Gran Moraine VYD Yamhill-Carlton Willamette OR 14.5