2015 Chardonnay, Rombauer Vineyards

 

2015 Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay, California, USA.

2015 Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay, California, USA. Link here for Notes‘ most recent notes on the ’14 vintage.

 

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2013 The Count’s Selection, Syrah, Buena Vista Winery

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to bottle number 3026 of The Count’s Selection Syrah, produced by Buena Vista Winery. Yes, another Syrah, loyal readers. You know I have a tendency to hold onto Buena Vista wines for special occasions, but this weekend (which also included the new Bond flick Spectre) I needed some TLC courtesy of these good Sonoma folks and fired up this 2013 to get my fix.

2013 Count's Selection, Syrah, Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma Valley, California, USA.

2013 The Count’s Selection, Syrah, Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma Valley, California, USA.

This Syrah is very easy drinking, a blackberry-flavored red with earthy undertones, a bottle that you’re so disappointed to see dwindling over the course of the evening. Savor every glass, my friends, because excellence is fleeting and impermanent.

Buena Vista says The Count has “…round, well-integrated tannins, flavors of dark fruits, and a touch of black pepper [that] lead to a velvety finish.

The Count’s Selection works well in both low-brow (i.e., grilled cheese sandwiches) and high-guard (e.g., grilled steaks) applications. Accompanying the cheese you get a sense of the contrast, the spicy pepper-tinged underpinnings of the Syrah. Eaten with the grilled meat, you experience more of the complimentary flavors, the way the seasoning of the steak parallels the leathery complexion of the Syrah. But hell, a drink this fine you could drink with just about anything and it’ll improve both the food and your mood.

That’s my prescription for you this evening–take one of these to cure what ails ya. I hope I remembered to order another in the November shipment that’s presently en route.

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.

2004 Merlot, Buena Vista Ramal Estate Vineyard Series

This bottle has been along for quite the journey. It shipped eastward from our favorite Sonoma vineyard several years ago, originally landing in our NJ home, where it somehow escaped consumption for several years–perhaps as many as four or five? I’m not sure if I thought we should just have at LEAST one Buena Vista bottle on hand at all times, or perhaps I was caught up in a post-Sideways backlash against Merlot. Even good Merlot!

2004 Merlot, Buena Vista Ramal Estate Vineyard Series

2004 Merlot, Buena Vista Ramal Estate Vineyard Series, Sonoma, California, USA.

Regardless, this 2004 Buena Vista Ramal Estate Vineyard Series Merlot eventually moved with us down south, surviving 18 unopened months in our rental before sliding to our new home just two months ago. And then the cork came off and we started pouring. Who’s ready for theirs?

I confess that I made little record of the tasting, and an Ida’s Selection Pinot Noir (also from Buena Vista) followed close on its heels so I have some recency bias toward the Pinot. Didn’t record our meal here either. Based on some research, I can tell you the grapes originate from the Carneros appellation, a slice of heaven right in the corner of Sonoma and Napa’s southern boundaries that produces some great adult beverages like this one.

Since finishing the 2004, I’ve done some searching of Wine Searcher and other other retailers without finding this particular vintage. I’m not sure it was a great year or bottle, at least to critics, but I can tell you this one went fast and engendered many warm smiles in our home. Happy hunting!

 

 

2012 Private Reserve Chardonnay, Buena Vista

This one burned a hole in our pocket.  This top-notch Chardonnay arrived just a week ago as part of an April shipment from our friends at the Buena Vista Wine Club and is already a part of Notes.  But with Spring well underway here in our home, whites are in greater demand and I can see a shift on the horizon as reds will have to accept whites on more equal footing.

2012 Private Reserve Chardonnay, Buena Vista, Sonoma County, California, USA.

2012 Private Reserve Chardonnay, Buena Vista, Sonoma County, California, USA.

The 2012 Private Reserve Chardonnay had a chance to refrigerate all weekend and was nice and chilled by the time we uncorked after work today.  In comparison to a Pinot Grigio, this white had a much richer, flavor-filled density to it.  Some Grigio is almost like water to this taster, the Coors Light of white wines; the Buena Vista Chardonnay (this one in particular) was the succulent alternative.  There are plentiful floral notes in the 2012 Private Reserve, and definitely some citrus too…without some of the “oak barrel” that we occasionally find less ingratiating. (By way of clarification: I want to taste the complexities that result from this aging process without having the barrel dropped on my tongue…I think my wife shares the same sentiments.)

This is how the Buena Vista team articulated their concept: “The 2012 Private Reserve Chardonnay is sourced from vineyards throughout Sonoma County and displays fresh citrus notes that are accented by hits of baked apple and vanilla.

I don’t usually warm up too much to vanilla, but it’s not really the dominant scent or taste in the 2012 Private Reserve Chardonnay.  Having enjoyed time in Sonoma, I like to picture the winemaker, in compiling the right grapes for this varietal, sampling many of the same vineyards that we too hit in wine country.  I know that is an unrealistic expectation but nice remembrance nevertheless.  Oh yeah–last but not least.  We had this white with a flavorful ham, reheated from our fabulous Easter brunch, broccoli, and a homemade macaroni and cheese (with real melted cheese!).  The food was good, but the Chardonnay was the star of the show.

2009 Elenora’s Selection Chardonnay, Buena Vista

Any week that has Buena Vista in it is better than one without.  I’m much less a fan of white wines than I am reds, but when you’re going with a Chardonnay produced by one of the country’s most storied vineyards you’re in good hands throughout your tasting experience.  Our bottle was #1259, and she was drawn from one of 348 cases produced.  Here’s the playbook from the folks at Buena Vista:

2009 Elenora's Selection Chardonnay, Buena Vista, Sonoma County, California, USA.

2009 Elenora’s Selection Chardonnay, Buena Vista, Sonoma County, California, USA.

The 2009 Elenora’s Selection Chardonnay displays a spicy bouquet of citrus and ripe pear while bright fruit flavors and great acidity give the wine depth and balance.  A creamy texture and rich flavors of Golden Delicious apples and peaches are brilliantly showcased in this distinctive wine.

Elenora was with us for meals both divine (i.e., salmon with a dijon mustard and oregano sauce) and homespun (i.e., PB&J with chicken noodle soup), and acquitted herself with grace and dignity in each.  The 2009 Elenora’s Selection Chardonnay from Buena Vista is rich in color, more like apple juice than the glassy spring color of a Pinot Gris, and definitely packs in the pear/citrus combination in equal measures.  It’s easy to drink and easier to appreciate.