Cheers - March/April 2016

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 53 of 59 54 • March/April 2016 from 11 prime valley sites. Peach and melon notes balance the touches of citrus fruits. Very detailed barrel fermentation program includes hand stirring of the lees. ($39.99) (97) Davis Bynum River West Vineyard 2013 (California). Single vineyard. French oak barrel-fermentation and aging. 100% malolactic fermentation. Aged sur lie. The result? Rich, buttery, toasty, classic Russian River chardonnay! A bouquet of baked fruits and spices leads to a creamy texture that coats the palate with fl avors of apple, pear and apricot, with a hint of vanilla/butter- scotch. There is still a crisp acidity on the fi nish that adds great length. ($25) (95) Beaucanon Estate 2012 (California). This chardonnay defi nitely has a French fl air. The grapes are 100% organic. Understated tropical fruit aromas and fl a- vors, with slightly toasted oak undertones. A rich, honey-like texture. The balance of fruit, oak and acidity is perfect. A lovely hint of minerality lingers on the fi nish. All components harmonize and gently coat the palate and stay. It is reminiscent of a good Meursault in style. The 2012 vintage is now peaking beautifully. Ideal for seafood. ($25) (95) Heron 2013 (California). Owner Laely Heron contracts with growers from premier California AVAs; grapes are sourced from Russian River Valley, Carneros and Santa Maria Valley from 22- to 25-year-old vines. She incorporates whole-cluster pressing with barrel aging of up to fi ve months with no malolactic fermentation. The wine is lively and refreshing with lush fl avors of peach, mango and citrus. It's long, crisp and zesty on the fi nish, with lip-smacking acidity: an ideal aperitif, or will pair beauti- fully with milder Asian cuisine. ($15) (95) Mt. Beautiful 2014 (New Zealand). From certifi ed-sustainable vineyards, this is a rather New World/Old World style. It has nuances of wildfl owers, mineral and under- ripe fruit on the nose. These continue on the palate, but then fruit fl avors become lush and mouth fi lling. The fi nish is long and lively with racy, sweet/tart acidity and a hint of lemon/ grapefruit. Pair this with pork or fowl with a fruit glaze, or enjoy it as an aperitif. ($19) (95) Saracina 2014 (California). This is an interesting blend of 96% chardonnay and 4% viognier from organic grapes, unoaked. The small percentage of viognier is noticeable, lending a bit of mouthfeel to the wine. Aromas and fl avors of ripe apple, pear and other fruits. There are hints of lemon/orange on the fi nish, with a touch of spiciness despite the lack of oak aging. This is an intriguing, unusual and delicious style of chardonnay that will pair well with a cornucopia of cuisine. ($20) (94) Evening Land Seven Springs Chardonnay 2013 (Oregon). A more affordable offering from one of the U.S's best producers. Eleven months of French Oak-aging is hard to comprehend when tasting how balanced this wine is. Classic fruit fl avors of apple, pear and tropical fruits highlight this Burgundian style. This wine is much more readily available and will turn into the everyday chardonnay of whoever takes the leap. ($45.99) (94) Migration 2013 (California). Just their fi fth release, winemaker Bo Felton is hitting his stride as Duckhorn expands from its Napa base and uses 14 of the best vineyard sites in the cool-climate Russian River. Rich layers of complex tropical fruit on the nose lead to a rich, balanced mouthfeel, with vanilla and butterscotch on the fi nish. ($34.99) (94) Goldschmidt Singing Tree Russian River Chardonnay 2014 (California). This is an absolutely gorgeous chardonnay from start to fi nish. The subtle, buttery notes are quickly compemented with soft tropical fruit and hints of Granny Smith apple, and all is surrounded by perfectly balanced acidity. ($17.99) (94) Maison Ambroise 2014 (France). A great entry into the world of Burgundy's white wines. Crisp, apple and lemon fruit with a lean, light mouthfeel. Balanced and fi rm on the fi nish, with lively acidity underneath. ($13.99) (93) Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2012 (New Zealand). New Zealand is not always the fi rst place you think of when someone says "great chardonnay," but with wines like the 2012 Cloudy Bay, it should be in the conver- sation. Intensely fruity, showing more citrus than most chardonnay, Cloudy Bay makes a well-balanced, chardonnay-lovers dream at a value that is hard to match. ($35.99) (93) Matthiasson, Linda Vista Vineyard Chardonnay 2013 (California). Killer Cali chard with a Burgundian temperament. Incredible balance is this wine's hallmark. Fresh pear, yellow apple and almond paste are all present with great depth. Vibrant acidy provides the framework for the pure fruit and mineral expressions. ($27.49) (93) Miner Family Winery 2011 (California). From the winery's chardonnay series, this is the "wild yeast offering." The Miner family sources from three of the top Napa sites, and then uses native yeasts. For the fermentation process, 16 months in oak with 100% malolactic and barrel fermentation yield a rich, opulent wine, ripe with tropical fruit notes. This one can only improve with light cellaring, if you're patient enough. ($54.99) (92) Domaine Lafage Novellum Chardonnay (France). The best value in chardonnay you can fi nd. Aging on Viognier lees gives this wine body without the use of oak, so it meets the well-bal- anced look that touches every side of chardonnay drinkers. It is near impossible to fi nd value in chardonnay that is not one-noted, and Novellum chardonnay's complex fruit and mineral tinged fl avors keep it away from that. To boot, you are drinking chardonnay from Roussillon, France, which is an anomaly in its own

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