Rogue Valley Chardonnay Comes Complete With Splinters
I have friends who drink wine.
The best part about wine, and about having friends who drink it, is that different people like different kinds of wine. Sure, it might make it more difficult to plan a party while keeping everyone’s wine preferences in mind, but it does make for lively conversation.
I have a friend who very much enjoys chardonnay, as do I. The thing is, I like the Chablis style, little-to-no oak barreling, steel fermentation. Crisp, clean citrus and apple flavors. She, on the other hand, prefers the traditionally-Californian style of the big, buttery, creamy, oaky chardonnay.
The problem for her is, I had to amend “Californian” with “traditionally” in that last paragraph. Many of California’s traditional purveyors of buttery, oaky chardonnay (like, say, Navarro in Mendocino, or Cakebread in Napa) are turning in recent vintages to the cleaner, “smaller,” more food-friendly version of chardonnay like that done in Chablis, France. Even Chablis' oaky cousin, the white Burgundy, never got to the splinterifficness of the over-oaked chardonnays of California.
While I like this turn of events, I also like being able to point friends in the direction of wines they will like. And so, I cannot wait to tell her about this offering from Oregon.
The barrel-fermented 2008 Chardonnay from Foris Vineyards in Oregon’s Rogue Valley AVA fits the “oaky, buttery” paradigm quite well, although with a hint of apple that does lend it some character.
In the glass, the wine looks like it will be a Chablis-style chard, quite deceptively. The wine is a bright, light lemon yellow color. The nose reveals a creamy, buttery aroma however, though it is tempered by a bit of red delicious apple.
On the palate, the wine shows its true colors: it’s full bodied, with plenty of oak and butter, though it is a bit flabby and feels unstructured. There is a hint of the apple from the nose here, but for the most part, you’ll be picking wood out of your teeth after this wine.
Not my cup of tea, for sure… but also not “bad,” per se. Just know what you’re getting in to.