EP 841 California Chardonnay Tasting

Gary has a confession to make- he’s starting to like oaky and buttery Chardonnays again. Today he tastes through 3 different wines in search of these flavors….

Wines tasted in this episode:

2008 Clos Blancheau James Berry ChardonnayPaso Robles Chardonnay
2007 Neyers Chardonnay El NovilleroNapa Chardonnay
2007 Newton Unfiltered ChardonnayNapa Chardonnay

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luca bercelli


line of the day – ‘that’s a girl I did years ago’

Everyone who’s ever had a glass of wine should watch this and realise that what you like one year you might not like the next

Tags: chardonnay, review, Video, white, wine, wines

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  • Hell yes! GV you went too straight forward for the fools this year. You gotta play it subtle, pick the KJ chard and give it a 91.

  • payson07

    never thought i'd see the day you were raving about the oak monster!

    QOTD: coming back a little to italian reds, but still hooked on NZ. lived there for a year & just came back. amazing stuff & they'll be hard to shake for a while.

  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo

    Hope Everybody had a Faaaaantaaaastiiiiic Easter/Passover !!!!! Bottle o' Viiiiinooooo
    Fruit of daaaa Viiiiiiiiiine…….YEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :o)

  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo

    Sluuuuurpin' some Neyers Carneros Chard 2007, YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-
    UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :0)

  • YoungDave

    Oaky domestic Chards!! Great episode- especially for the G-man. Palates DO change… and I went through a 2-month oaky white phase recently too! I can totally relate!

    QOTD 1.) I have not had any of these wines…
    QOTD 2.) I have recently come back to — Twitter. I left my account dormant for a little bit, and now I'm ALL about it suddenly!

  • Lb_in_KS

    who woulda thunk it…G makin' peace with the Oak Monster. A new Tee maybe? GV shaking hands w/the OM

  • QOTD #1: I've had the last two but not in these vintages.

    QOTD #2: Port. Can't get enough right now.

  • I really wish I could have heard the schizophrenic conversation inside your head when you first realized you might be liking the buttery Chards. I imagine it was like Gollum and Smeagol.

  • I love so much oak in my chardonnay, the more the better! Put the whole tree in there.

  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo


  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo

    Make it a SEQUOIA TREEEEE ta BOOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • amsgpwarrior

    Really enjoyed the Chard Show!!! Chablis and Burgundy style Chards are more my cup of tea. I love minerality, earthiness, and high acidity. Sharp citric fruit complemented with hints of buttery roundness takes the cake.

    The last Cali Chard I was very impressed with was 2006 Bernardus from Monterrey County. Great wine with hints of butter, fresh sugar cane (Love it!), and grassy-citric notes. Me and my best friend polished it off during a white wine marathon which included the Bernardus, a french Viognier, and a Texas hill country viognier. He was so trashed afterwards he urinated on my floor.

  • Guest

    Now that we’ve cleared that up…LOL

  • amsgpwarrior

    QOTD: I've gone back to drinking whites. But not whites I'm used to drinking. Discovering and tasting new varietals being grown in the hill country of Texas and analyzing what grapes may hold the future to great/successful wine. Also been talking to wineries and winemakers on how to create better quality wines out of the varietals they already make. I believe the Texas hill country makes the most complex viogniers in the world, but they lack one essential quality to really solidify Texas as a viognier powerhouse, and that essential element is acidity. The Texas heat seems to bake the acidity right out of the grapes. I hope to see Texas move to producing more Spanish and Portuguese varietals.

  • Going to Paso this coming weekend… Googled Clos Blancheau… would love to visit but can't find a location… anyone out there have any info…?

  • Phil G

    Love all the talk of the butter bandit – I like him more than the oak monster. Speaking of Chard, enjoyed a bottle of Rully this past weekend (one that you had on the show about 400 episodes ago) – it was drinking very well…

    QOTD – never really move too far away from things, but I am starting to drink more value-driven 'wednesday night' wines – often that are a little more fruit foward. I drink them after dinner, so too much tannin isn't as welcome.

  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo

    Yo Dude, Ya gotta Potty-Train yur Friend…….. :o)

  • castello

    They don't seem to exist.

  • Cali Chard, major meh.

    QOTD: The palate really hasn't changed much in the last half year, still the same old suspects with a new sensitivity to alcohol.

  • cellarrat5

    Interesting comments about Texas becoming a “powerhouse” for Viogniers. What do you think, in your opinion, makes them one of the showcase regions of the world? What elevation are the Texas hills? Are there any of these powerhouse Viogniers available in retailers in CA? I would be very interested to try one.

  • cellarrat5

    Gaaaaaarryyy… we wants it we do, and we knows you wants it too!

  • Paul C

    09 Bordeaux ?

  • cellarrat5

    Ruby, Tawny? Which producers?

  • cellarrat5

    Need my monday fix GV & CM, Speaking of CM has he pulled himself from the icy grip of death yet?

  • Timinspokane

    Some love for the buttery chards! Sweet… I have been on my soapbox for awhile now, punking all of the pukes who have had the backlash against oaked chardonnays… as I have been saying, if you want super crisp, steely, non-oaked whites, drink sauvignon blanc!! Leave my oaked chards freakin' alone… That said, the QOTD… I never left the oaked chards, so I never came back to them… I have come back to drinking more whites lately, though. Chenin blancs and reislings in particular have been sliding down my piehole lately, and I like it. L'Ecole 41, from Washington State, makes three or four darned good chenin blancs. Pacific Rim makes an organic, dry reisling for less than $10 that is seriously good. Totally worth seeking out.

    Screaming deal alert!! We just had a Bogle (yes, Bogle!) Russian River Valley pinot noir that we bought at the grocery store on accident (my wife thought it was their petite syrah) for $10 (!!!) that was as good as many of the $40 to $50 Cali pinots I have had. I think it was a 2007, but I already tossed the bottle… it is worth checking out!

  • cellarrat5

    I second, third and fourth the request to try some Caduceus wines. If I remember correctly you scored them fairly high, you might have given them a range as well. I would be interested to see how you would score them without Keenan and Glomski on either side of you. Not that you are afraid of them, but I imagine it is hard to score wines in front of the producers.

  • Yes…

    I've been on a kick ever since those '07 vintage ports got released and were being tasted. That doesn't mean that I stay strictly on the ruby side, though I did drop a nice chunck of change on a few '07 Warre's and '07 Graham's (my two favorites that will be put to ben in the cellar for a long bit). Been a fan of the '02 Dow's Crusted Port for something a little more budget friendly in the ruby world. On the tawny side, my favorite as of late is the Ferriera Duque de Braganca 20 year… WOW.

  • cellarrat5

    thanks for the info Tim! At 10 bones its worth checking out at the very least!

  • cellarrat5

    Sounds like you have good (and somewhat expensive) taste! I am a huge fan of both Ruby's and Tawnys but do not drink them very often. The winery I work for makes two Rubys out of Tinta Roriz (temp), Tinta Cao, Souzao, Bastardo, Touriga National and Touriga franchesca. We fortify, and age them seperatly then blend em, classic Porto style. We make a 6 year Tawny as well (lost most of our vinyards to Phylloxera in 96 so we are building our Tawny program up a bit).

  • Timinspokane

    Yer welcome! This Bogle Pinot Noir said “Russian River Valley” at the very bottom of the front label. I hope this wine is widely available. I was shocked at finding an RRV Pinot for that price, and it really was pretty good. I am not a huge pinot drinker, but I have had tons of them in our travels, including several trips to the Russian River Valley and Sonoma/Napa in general. Good stuff – phenominal for the price. Cheers!

  • cellarrat5

    Bogels stuff ushually is everywhere, they might have gotten 75% of thier crop from RRV and then got the 25% somewhere else to cut down on overhead. Who knows, they might have connections there so they can get what the growers hadent sold off yet. Either way I will be looking for it! Prost!

  • adrums

    Interesting show. Newton was my first major-leagues Cali Chard experience. It was the '02 vintage, which is still drinking great, btw. I also love the '05. The '06 was a step down, it seemed to me… haven't tried the '07, supposed to be a fantastic cali vintage though, so I probably should track it down, disjointed or not…
    QOTD: Coming back to Aussie Shiraz a bit, currently… seems I really dig them for about a period of six weeks, every two years or so.

  • charlzee

    I always got a chuckle form the”Oaky Buttery” chardonnay haters. It's like they need a bandwagon to jump on and dis great Chard like Newton and Neyers. I have always loved them and now our fearless leader is back..Welcome back GV!

    QOTD: Yes I have tatsed the Neyers and the Newton. Want a real buttery oaky great play…Hanzell, 100 year old vines Chard.

  • I'm coming back to Pinot at the moment. Been away in a world of Cabernet for a long while. Although, for me, it is also about what I can get at a good price point here in Asia. Pinots seem to be filtering in much more lately which can only be a good thing.

    If I can find it I'll be checking out the Bogle Timinspokane mentioned.

  • didiaw

    very soon chardonnay from Morocco….will keep updated

  • jsums

    Good showing for the wines this episode! I feel you on the “palate fetish” thing. While it's not what I usually go for, every rare once in a while I just crave a Cali-Chardonnay-Oak/Butter-Bomb or a Rip-Your-Face-Off-Shiraz-Fruit-Bomb. It's fun and enjoyable now and then. You should check out the Wolffer Perle Chardonnay 2006 or 2007 from the Hamptons. Kick ass stuff from LI made in the bigger Cali style. Roman Roth is the winemaker. He definately knows what he's doing. QOTD – From time to time I go on a hardcore Zin bender. Then I hate it for a while. Then I crave it again. Weird.

  • Jsternh

    The only food these wines go with is the toothpick – hopefully you will get over this trend and back to acidity in the not to distant future.

  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo

    A little OAK never hurt nobody………..

  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo

    Maybe the Mottster infected G …..??…… :o)

  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo


  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo

    Probably made in somebody's garage………

  • cellarrat5

    Yeah… Getting late back east, no Monday fix for me.

    Sent from my mobile brain washing device.

  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo


  • waynoooo daaaaa winoooo

    Hang-in-there cellarrat5, I Feeel a New Episode is just around the Corner…… :o)

  • jmacintx

    I'm right there with you on Texas wines. There are some pretty good wineries all over the state (at least according to my fledgling palate), but I think most of the grapes are grown out in the Panhandle around Lubbock and in central TX as well.

  • amsgpwarrior

    The Pros:
    I believe there are several things going for Texas that allow us to produce world class viogniers. We have tons of sun and heat and our growing seasons can be very dry which concentrates the grapes very well on good years. Most of viognier producers grow the grapes near water sources and due to our humidity in these growing areas we have a good amount of fog and dew during the evenings and nights to cool grapes during the blistering summers. Our elevations for the best growing regions of viognier range from 500 to close to 3000 feet. Also our soil is heavily mineral rich and this can be easily tasted in the better viogniers.
    The Cons:
    As a die hard Texan, I believe it is my duty to be the most critical about the direction of our wine culture here in Texas. There are many kinks we are working out. First of all, our wine culture is very young in Texas, with most wineries being opened within the last 20-25 years. Many wineries are just now learning to grow varietals that suit our soil and climate (Tempranillo and viognier being the best so far). It sometimes gets too hot to grow good grapes on young vines;…..I think Texas needs to adopt vine growing techniques used in other parts of the world to decrease the heat stress on the grapes. Another con is that unfortunately our best efforts (especially Viognier) never see the light of day outside the state of Texas in retailers due to gigantic local support of our local wineries and low production= they sell out quickly. Another con is that sometimes these great viogniers don't come cheap if you stumble upon them. I paid up to $30-$40 a bottle for a Driftwood Vineyards viognier (the best viognier I have ever tasted no doubt) in 2004-2005.
    But if you want to try a Viognier that might be accessible in another state (hopefully?), that is decently priced and could challenge alot of other viognier efforts elsewhere are from Becker Vineyards, Alamosa Cellars, and the best recently is from Brennan Vineyards,…all priced from $9-$17.

  • amsgpwarrior

    I agree with you. I think consistency wise, the best producers are from the Panhandle region with the cooler climate, high elevation, cool nights, and more consistent weather. In the hill country where I live, our wines live and die by whether we get moderate weather, it seems lately we either get drenched in rain or don't get any rain at all. I believe the winemaker to watch in Texas is Dan Gatlin at Inwood Estates.

  • bobbytiger

    Welcome to my world Gary. I've been waiting for you.
    While I generally like Chardonnays, I do prefer the taste of a tree with my drink. It just seems to add that bit of substance and kick that I am looking for.
    Nice show.
    QOTD- Nope. Pretty old school here. I find several wines I like, and I just seem to mix them up like a deck of cards, and start drinking.

  • amsgpwarrior

    Agreed. It can be tough pairing these buttery-oaky chards with little signs of acidity. Better hope your food tastes like buttery-oak, or you'll be drinking that wine solo sans nibbles.

  • amsgpwarrior

    Next time might wear a diaper before hitting the bottle 🙂


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