I remember my first taste of Chardonnay. It was early in my wine-tasting career, and it was a typical over-oaked California version, and I hated it. I tried another one not long after that, with the same result, and decided Chardonnay was not for me.
I was young and immature then.
The fact is, you can’t just rule out a noble grape like Chardonnay. It’s White Burgundy, after all. They make Champagne with Chardonnay! The problem with most Chardonnay is not the grape, it’s the winemaker, who overdoes it with oak and manipulation which ruins what should be delicate floral notes and light citrus flavors. Very much like this week’s featured wine, the 2012 October Night Chardonnay from J. Lohr.
It’s called October Night because the grapes are harvested after dark to preserve the fruit, conserve energy at the winery, and allow the workers to pick in the cool of the evening, instead of the hot sun of the Arroyo Seco.
This was one of the wines we sampled at our last tasting party at the Wharf Tavern, and it was a crowd favorite. Not your typical heavily-oaked, buttery Chardonnay, October Night is lighter, with aromas of citrus and vanilla, and nice flavors of peach, lemon and toast. It’s complex for a white, but not overdone, with a creamy mouth-feel that we all enjoyed. My only knock on this wine is the price. It tastes very much like a $23 wine, I just wish it was less, so I could buy it more often!
If you’d like to try interesting wines like this at our next Wine Wednesday Tasting Party at The Wharf Tavern, click here to win a spot on the guest list!