Have you ever drank a Chardonnay at 65° or 70°? Have you ever waved off the ice-bucket to a bewildered waiter, “Nah… we’re good.” Have you ever said, “Do you have one not in the fridge?” I know I harp on this a bit much but LOTS of chard NEEDS to be enjoyed at low-room-temp or hi-cellar. It’s an amazing experience which will blow your mind. The fruit and buttery body comes through so much better when your taste-buds aren’t dulled by freezing temperatures. The acidic zing and mineral evolve so much better–things often seem just, well, more balanced. I dare say anything *quality* over about 40 bucks needs to be visited at room-temp. Of course i’m not talking about the supermarket top-shelf oak & butter bombs–but I don’t drink those, and neither do you.
I put this in the fridge for a minute and then opened it, and left it out. It doesn’t need chilling! Pale, almost clear straw in the glass, a smoky, tobacco-infused nose of sultry vegetal and elegant savory butteriness. I get in trouble every time I use any form of the word “butter” in my chard reviews because most americans are so programmed to defy this descriptor applied to this variety. I’ve used it twice already here and now I just do it purposely to piss people off. Chardonnay HAS a roily, buttery naturalness to it–even in low-malo presentations. Even in Chablis. Let’s not make the grape something it’s not. It’s like making Pinot taste like Merlot–or Zin perform like cab.
In the mouth, a gorgeous honey-lingered tincture attacks the tongue with spicy vigor. Full and rich–gracious all across the palate–with bits of pointedness biting at the sidelines. Shockingly acidic, but never vegetal or green, though herbaceousness maintains calm attitude throughout. Lilikoi, peach and green banana perfect the fruit, a pretty floral dumping of lily and natal plum causing pause. Yes, it’s rich and RRV-resplendent throughout, the oak an elegant mid-thought and the spice turning to tannin in the finish. Just a stupidly good Chard.
2019 MARITANA ‘La Riviere’ Chardonnay Russian River Valley 14.0