I had a discussion with a friend recently about whether our local Livermore Valley chardonnays ever offer the same kind of buttery, oaky oomph that the Napa Valley got famous for. Some might consider that fame to instead be notoriety, but as I firmly believe: to each their own. She loves the big buttery oak. My personal favorite from Livermore is Steven Kent’s Merrillee, but it’s a distinctly acidic, citrusy chard. Not her speed.
This one might be a bit closer, but, I think, still misses the mark. One of Wente’s premier series of wines (along with the Small Lot wines), Nth Degree offers some of the Livermore Valley’s better wines.
The Nth Degree Chardonnay is a bold, golden yellow color that looks great in the glass. On the nose are some really fresh pear and apple notes. The palate definitely featured a butteryness, but it was of a nutty, rather than oaky nature. It’s light in the mouth, and features a nice light citrus acidity.
In other words, although it kind of looks like a Napa chardonnay, and is buttery, it’s just not the same. Which, frankly, works for me. There’s a hint of what made Napa famous, but this is a great example of a Livermore white wine.