2013 Chardonnay, Meiomi Wines

The Meiomi Pinot Noir gets a lot of attention from wine enthusiasts (this one included), and for good reason. It’s a fantastic wine, and it is well represented in Notes if you wanted to search for such reviews. What I didn’t know was that Wagner also had a comparable white blend in their Chardonnay.

2013 Meiomi Chardonnay, Meoimi Wines

2013 Meiomi Chardonnay, Meoimi Wines, St. Helena, California, USA.

The Meiomi Chardonnay (this one is obviously a 2013) is, like their red, a blend of grapes sourced from Santa Barbara (49%), Sonoma (30%), and Monterrey (21%) coastal counties. That mixture infuses a wide variety of interesting tastes in this white, which is not overly oaky  or buttery but rather characterized by some crisp apple-like fruits and some mineral undertones. Not quite what you’d expect from a wine that does some time aging in French oak. My wife and I both enjoyed, which is pretty high praise if you know us.

Thus did the 2013 Meiomi Chardonnay launch our house into Friday evening, the end of the year’s first work week. The stemware was ready and served up our drinks during the cocktail hour as well as during dinner–which consisted of two types of ravioli. Delicious dinner and wine for us both*.

My wife picked out this bottle, and we are likely to put it more frequently in the rotation over the coming year with pasta, fish, and the helluv it. Hope you enjoy yours as much as we did.

*Note that mine also consisted of more Wagner family wine

2012 North Coast Chardonnay, William Hill Estate Winery

This was a multiple­-night Chardonnay, and that usually means one of two things: 1) either the white didn’t have enough time to breathe, or 2) the accompanying food disappeared faster than the vino. In our house, whites are consumed infrequently and even less often once the fish or chicken is gone.

2012 North Coast Chardonnay, William Hill Estate Winery, Napa Valley, California, USA.

2012 North Coast Chardonnay, William Hill Estate Winery, Napa Valley, California, USA.

The William Hill North Coast has good branding, and a label that is not unlike a Mondavi. The embossing is a nice touch too, but I didn’t think this white quite lived up to this appearance. It was not sweet (which gets no love whatsoever in Notes) at all, and had some light floral and citrus (definitely pear) notes to it­­–but so do practically all whites. So how did this 2012 differentiate itself?

Said plainly, it really didn’t. I have yet to research this vintage of the William Hill, and I don’t know its cooperage­­, but I’m betting this was not aged in oak. I’m thinking stainless steel instead. Some of the warmth (what I often hear described as “buttery”) I equate with an oak barrel was not present here. This is not to say it was metallic tasting, but it was just uneven.*

Enjoyed the chance to try something new here, in the 2012 William Hill North Coast Chardonnay, but I am satisfied and file now under “been there, done that.”

*Postscript. The winemaker described, “This well-balanced wine has a robust fruit finish.” And they also state that a “portion” of this wine is aged in stainless steel at a maximum temperature of 62°F and the rest fermented in barrels at “an ambient cellar temperature of approximately 65°F.” Bingo!

2013 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay

I’m polishing off this cool, refreshing Chardonnay in the waning moments of tonight’s cocktail hour. Hiding as it was in the bottom of the fridge, partially consumed from some previous evening, this 2013 Kendall-Jackson has lost a bit of its crisp, fresh tone but still pulls a smile from my weary face.

2013 Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay, California, USA.

2013 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, California, USA.

Pear is present and accounted for, as is a nice easy finish that is hinting at a possible turn in the near future. Fortunately, she’s been liberated from the bottle just in time. The 2013 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay will accompany grilled tuna steaks, seasoned with lemon and a Mediterranean spice mix, white rice, and medley of scallions and mushrooms. Very promising stuff.

The Kendall-Jackson family always makes a good effort, and I’m sure this is one too. Excuse the brevity; the next time around we’ll be sure to polish with less of an interval between tastings and look forward to sharing those findings with you.

2013 Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay

This is the second Noble Vines wine we’ve had in recent weeks, this one a white–not a frequent Saturday night beverage in our house but one to which we both surrendered this evening.  In the interest of time I’ll explain that the 446 originates from the San Bernabe AVA, one termed the “cool climate Monterey” by the winemaker.

Your label on the 446 gives simple instructions – “Enjoy with grilled fish, chicken or pasta with creamy sauces.” And we did. Tuna steaks, so fresh and tender, we had alongside orzo pasta, peas, and asparagus. The pasta and vegetables were a contrast in styles and tastes, intertwining hot and cool elements into a great accent for the fish.

2013 Nobel Vines 446 Chardonney, Monterey, California, USA.

2013 Nobel Vines 446 Chardonney, Monterey, California, USA.

Fresh citrus is the best way, in my limited vocabulary and experience with whites, that I can describe the 2013 vintage of the 446. It doesn’t have a “buttery” taste to it, and in that way is similar to the Simi that we had not too long ago.  In Notes for both I find myself struggling for specifics, for nuances that help differentiate among California Chardonnays and am determined to improve on my palate so as to offer more useful advice on whites in the future.

This is not that occasion, though, so let me close simply by saying it brought a smile to my face to know we both were giving a go to the 446 on this sultry Summer evening. Hoping you and yours had a good Saturday too!

The Ones That Got Away – Spring 2015 Sampler

2013 Ida's Selection Pinot Noir, Buena Vista, Sonoma County, California, USA; Santa Margherita Prosecco, Italy; 2012 Avant Chardonnay, Kendall Jackson, California, USA; 2013 Avant Chardonnay, Kendall Jackson, California, USA; 2013 Vintner's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Kendall Jackson, California, USA; 2013 Ruffino Pinot Grigio Delle Venezia, Italy; 2013 Trivento Malbec Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina.

2013 Ida’s Selection Pinot Noir, Buena Vista, Sonoma County, California, USA; Santa Margherita Prosecco, Italy; 2012 Avant Chardonnay, Kendall Jackson, California, USA; 2013 Avant Chardonnay, Kendall Jackson, California, USA; 2013 Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Kendall Jackson, California, USA; 2013 Ruffino Pinot Grigio Delle Venezia, Italy; 2013 Trivento Malbec Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina.

2013 Simi Chardonnay

This 2013 Simi Chardonnay, originating from Sonoma, California, is more pear and citrus than it is buttery. Most Chardonnay that I have is more of the latter…but I think that’s perhaps because I rarely buy white myself, except in wine shipments from Buena Vista. Whites are more the purview of my lovely bride.

2013 Simi Chardonnay, Sonoma, California, USA.

2013 Simi Chardonnay, Sonoma, California, USA.

That being said, the Simi went along with a simple Italian dinner. We had penne pasta, a little bit of ground beef, and a couple of forkfuls of sausage mixed in as well. The beef (we reheated) was only okay, but the sausage kicked a little bit of tang into the equation to good effect.

This was a weeknight meal and, though it was ultimately pretty tasty, this food was more about function than aesthetics. That’s kind of how I would describe the 2013 Simi Chardonnay as well.

2013 Jovita’s Selection Chardonnay, Buena Vista

It’s Rivalry Week, and the best ticket in all of college hoops is unquestionably UNC/Duke–tonight their first matchup of the season. I’m winding down for the evening, pulling for the ‘Heels, and putting down the last of a 2013 Jovita’s Selection Chardonnay, from Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma County.

2013 Jovita's Selection Chardonnay Buena Vista Sonoma County California USA

2013 Jovita’s Selection Chardonnay, Buena Vista, Sonoma County, California, USA.

The folks at Buena Vista make a really fine Chardonnay, and this is one of them in spite of its youth. It smells full on the nose, a bouquet of citrus and maybe some vanilla in your glass. Of course it’s more robust than a Grigio, and this one is rich without being sticky or overly sweet. I’ve sample a glass over the last several nights with salmon, pork (a fantastic meal in and of itself), and even as a precursor to ground beef–Jovita stands tall with all of ’em.

I’ve got to return my attention to the ballgame but want to leave you with just one more nugget–the winemaker’s notes: “The 2013 Jovita’s Selection Chardonnay is a rich, unctuous wine with a beautiful, lingering acidity that belies its origins on both sides of Sonoma Mountain. Aromas of lemon zest and green apple lead to a palate delighted by flavors of gingerbread and a touch of vanilla on the finish.

This is bottle #2187 of just 500 cases produced, and a great small production run at that. Excuse the brevity on this occasion–hope to have more to say about Jovita the next time she visits.

2011 Casillero del Diablo Reserva White

A rare white wine entry among all the reds here on Notes–this is the 2011 Casillero del Diablo Reserva White. The Diablo originates from the Limarí Valley of Chile (does that make this northern Chilean area the root of all evil? or just great wine?), where the local climate imparts great tropical fruit notes to its white wines. The springtime temperatures, which can range from about 53 degrees at night to 77 by day, reminds me of Southern California and is just about ideal for growing tropical fruit. Or grapes, as it turns out.

2011 Casillero del Diablo Reserva White, Limarí Valley, Chile.

2011 Casillero del Diablo Reserva White, Limarí Valley, Chile.

We opened the Diablo midweek, just a little dinner beverage that we sipped for a meal or two before finishing it off tonight with some light but delicious sushi and sashimi. The 2011 Casillero del Diablo Reserva White is a blend of whites, folding together Chardonnay (65%) and Moscato (35%) that is plucked from vineyards along Chile’s coast. In this guy’s mind, the mix works well and especially for wine drinkers like me who are looking for more than a Pinot Grigio but often less than a Chardonnay in a white. Give it a go–you’ll probably get an immediate whiff of citrus when you uncork it.

The winemaker says it has scents of “…pineapple, citrus, peaches, and hints of honey…” I’m not sure about the honey but you can definitely appreciate the others both on the nose and on your palate. We’ve done Diablo wines in the past, and you can read about them here or here. I hope you give this one a shot yourself. It’s readily available, inexpensive, and pretty decent as a working man’s white wine.


2012 Elenora’s Selection Chardonnay, Buena Vista

Sometimes when a Count’s Club shipment arrives from Buena Vista I go into a Charlie Bucket mentality. Do you remember how Charlie receives a Wonka chocolate bar for his birthday and savors tiny little bites, just barely addressing his fix while keeping more for the future? That’s how I often feel about a new bottle of wine from our favorite Sonona winery.  I want a sip right away but also to preserve as much as possible for the future; they only arrive a handful of times each year, y’know?

2012 Elenora's Selection Chardonnay Buena Vista Sonoma County California USA

2012 Elenora’s Selection Chardonnay, Buena Vista, Sonoma County, California, USA.

On this one, I held out for nearly a week before opening–and it’s a golden ticket unto itself. My wife and I split the 2012 Elenora’s Selection Chardonnay on a Sunday evening, and this flavorful white wine accompanied an expertly cooked shrimp/scallop entre. The seafood was accented a great orange sauce and fresh herbs that are growing indoors, protected against the changing seasons and their widely ranging temperatures. Be sure to check out the photo too–it shows the inviting Elenora and the “golden jewel blend” cous cous, combining elements for taste and the killer presentation visual.

This richly complex Chardonnay has flavors of lemon cream pie, vanilla, and just a touch of coriander. With a medium plus body, balanced acidity, and great length to the finish, this wine is the perfect pairing for grilled lobster with garlic butter sauce or toasted polenta and sauteed mushrooms.” Well phrased, winemaker, well phrased indeed.

Wistfully I report that we polished off this 2012 Elenora’s Selection in one seating, and we’ll have to wait several more weeks for another possible Chardonnay courtesy of the good folks at Buena Vista.

2013 Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Lot #51 Chardonnay

Change of pace from all the reds and my love of them is the 2013 Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Lot #51 Chardonnay, a California-bottled citrusy white that we picked up…well…obviously. Selected and opened by family earlier in the week, I only revisited it myself as our meals lined up as fish and chicken over the last couple days.

2013 Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Lot #51 Chardonnay Napa California USA

2013 Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Lot #51 Chardonnay, Napa, California, USA.

There’s definitely some floral stuff happening here; some pear and peach perhaps too, all working together in oak to produce a light, buttery taste. I know my folks are fans of both oak and the buttery effect, and that they left some of this bottle for us means they either had their fill of spirits (all good!) this weekend or simply ran out of time. I’m betting the latter.

The Lot 51 Chardonnay first accompanied tuna steaks (slightly more well done than intended, but expertly seasoned) with white rice and steamed broccoli. I liked the role of this Carneros chardonnay within this meal as I thought it mixed well between bites of our fish and its spices. I enjoyed it so much that I reached eagerly for it tonight as well, both to ease my nerves after a pressure-filled work day and to complement one of my favorite meals–chicken piccata with penne pasta. This meal was my go-to for some time at Rosario’s, our favorite NJ neighborhood Italian jaunt. Regrettably, the webcast I was moderating took a bit longer than anticipated and let the white wine and caper sauce lock up just a bit, but it still made for a nice little feast by the time our speaker finished up her presentation.

The 2013 Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Lot #51 Chardonnay is bottled by BC Sellers of Napa, California, and would be an acceptable if not spectacular white gracing your table one of these future evenings.