California Chardonnay - Printable Version

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- Robyn - 11-04-2000 09:32 AM

Is it true that a Chardonnay that says "California" on the label is not from oak barrels?

- Innkeeper - 11-04-2000 10:18 AM

No. California on the label means, technically, that the grapes could come from anywhere in the state or an abuting state. In reality it also means you have a 99% chance that it's been well oaked. For unoaky chardonnay, try a Maconnaise. Widely available is Macon Lugny, Chardonnay, "Les Charmes", Cave de Lugny.

[This message has been edited by Innkeeper (edited 11-05-2000).]

- mrdutton - 11-04-2000 10:34 PM

California and Oak are synonymous are they not?

(It took me twenty minutes to make sure that I spelled that damn four syllable word correctly.) (And it sure as hell was not California.)

- Bucko - 11-04-2000 11:22 PM

Not necessarily..... but I feel your pain, all kidding aside. I am still on an anti-overoaking crusade. I complain to every member of the biz that I see. I keep getting the same lame answer -- "That is what the American public wants." Horse hockey!! I prove that is not true daily, when I have friends try well-balanced wines instead of oak-laden monstrosities. They are always pleasantly surprised. Oak hides a lot of little flaws.........


- Robyn - 11-24-2000 09:06 PM

Thank you for the replys. The quest to avoid the Oak has got looking for good 10$ wine. Any other tips?

- mrdutton - 11-25-2000 12:20 AM

Yes for a nice, crisp, chardonnay try some French Chablis. Some of the less expensive versions come from stainless steel - no oak there at all. Others come from french oak barrels that have been used over and over again so there is very little oak in the wine; however, they tend to be a bit more expensive (oak barrels are expensive to procure and maintain).

I've found several fermented in stainless steel at the local wine shop for less than $10.00 that were tasty.

- thewoodman - 11-25-2000 12:25 AM

Give Sierra Vista unoaked Chardonnay a try. 1999 El Dorado appellation. Nice acidity and lush fruit, without a speck of wood. Great as an aperitif or with food. I paid $9.99 for it.

- Innkeeper - 11-25-2000 08:22 AM

Ok Woodman that's a good lead. Will log it into the PDA. Robyn, as recommended above, another choice is Cave de Lugny, Macon Lugny, Chardonnay, "Les Charmes." Like just most of the Maconnaise, it is oak free. It is a wonderful wine available all over this country for $10.00 and frequently under. It is recommended in the current edition of Saveur Magazine as well as in Andrea Immer's current book, "Great Wine Made Simple." We've been drinking it for decades. It stays consistent year in year out, sort of like Lindemans Bin 65, except without the oak.

- Thomas - 11-25-2000 09:21 AM

Robyn, if you still aren't convinced after trying some of the recommended Chardonnays, give Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Grigio a try--those varieties have much more to offer than Chardonnay in the way of well roundedness, fruit and a variety of food friendliness. Riesling is another fine alternative.

Chardonnay can be great, but California Chardonnay is mostly overbearing.