Sometimes, wine doesn’t surprise you at all.
Everyone knows the scene in Sideways when the oenophile protagonist, Miles, declares his disdain for Merlot. However, earlier in the film, he makes the following comment about Chardonnay:
Miles: These guys make top-notch Pinot and Chardonnay. One of the best producers in Santa Barbara county.
Jack: I thought you hated Chardonnay.
Miles: I like all varietals. I just don’t generally like the way they manipulate Chardonnay in California—too much oak and secondary malolactic fermentation.
While I’m not 100% sure that excess ML in the process is what I don’t like about Cali chardonnay, what I can easily agree with here is the sentiment: I’ll take a French Chablis any day, but the majority of the chardonnay made in California is simply not my style.
Like this one, for instance.
The 2007 La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (they make a Monterey County version, as well) is a pretty run-of-the-mill Cali chard. It’s an attractive bright golden yellow in the glass, and the nose features notes of apple, pear, and a thick butteriness.
On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, oaky, and buttery. A very “California” chardonnay. It drinks just fine if you don’t mind the occasional splinter.
Give this one a bump of a point or five if you’re into the oaky/buttery thing. It’s not for me, though, and this here’s my wine blog, not yours, so…