Got to taste through the entire Ragtag line-up the other day at their grand opening and the Chardonnay really struck me. Vibrant canary in the glass, the nose pouring out weedy texture, grippy and smoky. Beautiful apple and pear base the fruit, and the combination creates a briary, awesome-packed bouquet NOT relying on butter or cloying warm fruitiness.
Direct and clean in the mouth, a testament to restraint in acid-driven chardonnay. Round to an extent–as this variety SHOULD be–gooseberry and rhubarb over-shadow lovely melon and ripe citrus notes, all along a stony, peppery core. But the part that grabs you is the ‘bitterness’ of it–and I know that is a word which will immediately turn the 99% off, but not people looking for true elevation in this variety. There are dusty-tannic-vegetal under-pinnings busying themselves throughout the wine here, and they are doing God’s work, even though the wine has copious sweet fruit. Steely match-head grit plays all the way through–especially in the finish.
This is the nicest, lightest Chard to corrode your mouth with spirit and abrasiveness you have seen in a while. American oak clearly is at work here, and I whole-heartedly approve. Don’t drink it too cold! I know I can barely get through a Chardonnay review without harping on temperature, but here it is especially key. At 60°, this thing sings songs of perfection, and at 50°, it shuts down into an awkward beast. This is a very nicely-done wine, and while their reds are all quite *user-friendly*, THIS is the star of the show, and considering their tasting room placement and therefore assumed demographic: I can not believe this wine will be popular. Basically what I’m saying is: It is not Rombauer. Not even CLOSE. This is an edgy, tight, blustery chard knocking on Chablis and my favorite wine they make.
2017 RAGTAG WINE CO. Chardonnay San Lucas Monterey Co. California 14.1