17 September, 2019
Chalk Hill Chardonnay – A tastingPosted in : Chardonnay, White Wine, Wine on by : becca
Obligatory disclaimer: These Chalk Hill chardonnays were free to me for my review. They are Chalk Hill’s two commercially available chardonnays; the winery produces two others that are only available at the estate or at their website.The 2016 Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay comes completely from grapes within the estate’s Chalk Hill AVA vineyards. It’s all golden pear, and pear so ripe, the juice seeps out when you press its skin. It’s richly layered, with more spice than I expected on first sip: baking mace and a subtle clove kick.
The strong pear makes me remember why I loved canned slices of it so much as a kid. Lemon rind appears in equal parts with butter, creating a simulacrum of a hot buttered rum—hold the rum. Honeysuckle comes through in the end, along with a fresh breeze.
The 2017 Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is sourced from a mixture of vineyards within Sonoma County. It smells like an aged chardonnay, though it’s certainly not old enough to qualify as one. It reminds me of butterscotch rum candies and gardenia.
The body is much lighter than the nose and first moments of sipping led me to believe. Imagine giving the candy a thorough savor and then taking a sip of flower-scented tonic water. Orange blossom is my only additional note, but the memory of the butterscotch lingers long enough to make you reach for the candy dish. Pair this one with bread pudding, English toffee, or perhaps an autumnal roasted squash salad.Despite their different mixtures of chardonnay grapes and their youth, the rich candy and stewed fruit notes in both Chalk Hill chardonnays possessed an aged chardonnay profile, or at least the beginnings of one. That’s a huge plus for me as I generally only love fresh chardonnay when it’s been aged in stainless steel rather than oak. It also makes me wonder how much of that is the hand of Courtney Foley, chief winemaker, coming through. In which case, well done, Courtney.
Were I a wine collector, I’d certainly be interested in buying both and trying them again in another few years. Now? I could be assured an oaked chardonnay that would satisfy my preferences right away.
Sampled 24 June 2019 and 13 September 2019.