Winemakers assess Napa’s ‘affordable’ Chardonnay

23rd April, 2013 by Catherine Seda Bugue - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

California Napa grapesKimberlee Nicholls of Markham Vineyards, makes a Chardonnay that retails for $18. Oak is used in its production, but is limited to 30% new oak.

Panelists all agreed that Chardonnay is very malleable, with Nicholls calling it a winemaker’s wine. Chardonnay wines, she said, are more reflective of a winemaker or the house style. For her Markham Chardonnay, it is 100% barrel fermented but in addition to a small percentage of new oak, only 40% goes through malolactic fermentation. She wants it to be a food wine.

Panelists examined the many different approaches that can be taken in the cellar which change the final style of the wine–from malolactic fermentation, lees stirring, leaving residual sugar in the wine, the use of stainless steel, staves or oak barrels, and so much more.

This, however, brings on difficulties in the marketplace as Chris Oggenfuss of CADE and Plumpjack wineries pointed out. “Napa has a hard time defining what a ‘Napa Chardonnay’ tastes like.”

This led panelists to discuss the need for stylistic variety in the market versus the confusion this can cause when diners review a restaurant wine list. If they don’t know a particular producer, they won’t know the style of Chardonnay they are ordering. A hot topic, panelists discussed this issue without resolve until the close of the tasting.

The top wines of the tasting indeed included a range of styles from un-oaked to round and buttery. Three different vintages (2010, 2011 and 2012) were included in the tasting and the three flights were arranged by vintage.

Click through the following pages to find out which wines the panelists chose the following as their favourite Chardonnays priced $30 and under.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Sales Support Assistant

H2Vin Ltd
London, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, Surrey

Sales Order Processor

Amathus Drinks
Park Royal, London NW10, UK

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

Events & PR Co-ordinator

Alliance Wine
London, UK

Partner Development Manager - That Boutique-y Gin Company

That Boutique-y Gin Company
Field Based, UK

Head of Merchant Sales

Grapevine the Wineservice Company
Cumbria, UK

Director of Sales

Matthew Clark
Field based - Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey, Berkshire or West Sussex, UK

Business Development Manager – Central London

Marussia Beverages UK Ltd
Field based – London, UK

Account Manager – Premium Restaurants, London

Kingfisher Beer Europe Ltd
London (Central), UK

Field Sales Representative - Beer Innovation

Elastic
Various locations, UK

Events Executive

The Drinks Business
London, UK

Area Sales Executive

Gordon & Macphail
Southern England (excluding London) and Inner London, UK

Buyer – Wine & Spirits

Sipp
London, UK

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

The Global Beer Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

Click to view more

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Click to view more