Browse Tag



[vineyard]Kumeu River 2005 Chardonnay (Kumeu) – Stone fruit with fine balancing acidity, restrained citrus, and a lot of sun and crystalline soil. Very, very impressive, with the structure to age and develop for a long while. (10/08)

Cry me a River

[bottle]Kumeu River 2005 Chardonnay (Kumeu) – The elephant in the room: there’s some obvious reduction at first opening (this wine is screwcapped by one of New Zealand’s most ardent advocates of widespread screwing…wait, that came out wrong). It completely disappears after about 15 minutes, though it’s replaced by a sulfurous, matchstick edginess. And then, there’s brilliant, sunrise-through-a-window acidity, brittle grapefruit, and a lot of primal, grapey rawness. This is structured and strikingly long, and though it lacks complexity now, I suspect time will bring some. Kumeu River remains one of New Zealand’s best producers of this often-insipid grape. (10/08)

Gascogne guzzler

Domaine du Tariquet “Côté Tariquet” 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc (Southwest France) – Intensely fruity, with some apparent residual sugar (seven to eight grams), apple, and good acidity. In the context of this appellation, a powerful wine. (3/08)


Domaine du Tariquet 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Chardonnay (Southwest France) – This wine sees six months in barrique; half new, half one year old. Some cream drizzled over light, crystallized peach. Short finish. Just OK. (3/08)


Domaine du Tariquet 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay (Southwest France) – Apricot and grapefruit, with good acidity and a hint of minerality. Long and balanced, and bigger than most of this lineup. A nice wine. (3/08)

Village idiot

[vineyard]Kumeu River “Village” 2004 Chardonnay (Kumeu) – Sulfur, sulfur, and sulfur, with a pale, hollow simulacrum of chardonnay underneath the stink. Avoid; even if the sulfur goes away, the wine isn’t worth the wait. (9/08)

Golden chardonnay

JP Brun “Terres Dorées” 2006 Beaujolais Blanc (Beaujolais) – Elusive but enticing, which is half unusual for this wine; usually, it’s just the latter. Faceted glass, mirrored in brown earth and a clear stone fruit texture, with good structure and yet with a good deal of careful restraint. Is this slightly closed? (8/08)

Who wants to be a Mesnil-aire?

[press]Pierre Peters Champagne Le Mesnil-sur-Oger “Grand Cru” Brut Blanc de Blancs “Cuvée de Réserve” (L 0931) (Champagne) – This is the version that was available in early 1998, and is thus a ten-year old NV Champagne. And this bottle hasn’t been stored in pristine conditions. That said, it’s holding well, perhaps just a year or two past its best stage for nut fans, with weight and minerality underneath the toasted almonds. My personal preference is to drink chardonnay-based sparklers early, and save the aging for those made from more red grapes, but there are always delicious exceptions. (8/08)

Board Anita

Rodney Strong 2006 Chardonnay (Chalk Hill) – French oak, barrel-fermentation, lees stirring, and a blend of yeasts. All the modern cocktail ingredients. There’s light oak influence, yellow plum, and apple with good acidity and a round texture. Butter pecan starts to annoy on the finish. Good for what it is, though I’m personally repelled by this flavor profile. (2/08)