Fix that Chardonnay Craving
My #winemuse Podcast partner Linda Rez and I have been discussing the topic of Chardonnay. Our discussion became so involved we decided to record a special #winemuse Podcast show featuring Chardonnay - to be recorded soon. Outside of our regular commitments, this month has involved Chardonnay research and arranging interviews with some of the best winemakers on the west coast. After our last interview I had strong cravings for a glass of Chardonnay. But what to buy?
One of the reflexes I have developed, after seven years of reviewing wine, is that I tend to purchase wines I don't know. Faced with a wall of wine, I typically select a bottle of wine I have not tried. Sometimes I will seek a wine reviewed/recommended by a friend in the wine industry. Usually, I look for an unfamiliar region or brand.
A year ago I reviewed a Mercer Reserve Chardonnay. But I was in the mood for something a bit more new world, so I selected the Mercer Estate Chardonnay (not Reserve) which I had not sampled. Admittedly I did not research this wine. I just assumed that it would be at least partly fermented in stainless (it was) and might have some oak involved in the program (it did). I was hoping for a fresh, vibrant wine that would be enjoyable with food and the summer sun. How'd I do?
Approximately 50% was fermented in Burgundian French oak barrels and 50% in stainless steel tanks with a chardonnay-specific yeast. Barrel fermentation lasted approximately a month. Inoculated 30% of the wine in barrels for malolactic fermentation. This wine was hand stirred on a weekly basis for over four months to contribute to the creamy, rich mouth-feel. The portion of the blend in stainless steel tanks was not allowed to go through malolactic fermentation, thus retaining its natural acidity and contributing to the mouth-watering finish.
My Tasting notes:
Nose: Fresh, toasty pear, melon, pineapple, mineral.
Expansive on the palate with fresh pear, light toast, melon, lychee, bright mid-palate, medium-light body, zesty, edged with spice. Satisfying medium finish.
Day two, it was generous with a fresh, toasty nose of melon and pear, whispers of spice and nuttiness. Palate was almost creamy, a hint of vanilla, melon, pear, lemon and lime, friendly acid across the tongue, nutty on the crisp finish. It was creamier as the wine approached room temperature. Good lunch companion with a ham sandwich. Enjoyable on a hot summer afternoon.
Thoughts: The gentle oak treatment combined with stainless fermentation added to the versatility of this wine. It is ready to start the party, was enjoyable with food and a good palate cleanser after dinner. Add to your everyday wine list. Recommended.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Vineyards: Zephyr Ridge vineyard Horse Heaven Hills mostly, Sagemoor vineyard remainder
Closure: Screw cap
Winemaker: Jessica Munnell
Mercer Estates Winery
3100 Lee Road
Prosser WA 99350
(Exit 82 off Interstate 82, between Yakima and Tri-Cities)
The Mercer Family came to the Horse Heaven Hills more than 125 years ago and has been farming for four generations. They planted their first grape vines in 1972, making them the first family to plant and grow vinifera in the state.
Related posts: Discover the Wines of Horse Heaven Hills