Chardonnay is one of the world’s most planted wine grapes (second to Spanish grape Airen). A major component in Champagne (and other sparkling wine), Chardonnay is known as a winemakers grape because of the ability for the winemaker to impart their stamp on the overall outcome. Chardonnay is crisp and clean in Chablis and has a reputation for being thick and buttery in California, although many wineries are moving away from this trend.
In Washington, Chardonnay is still king with nearly 6,000 planted acres (Cabernet Sauvignon is a very close second). While producing predominately red wine, a handful of Spokane wineries showcase the best qualities of Washington Chardonnay.
2010 Arbor Crest Chardonnay
Sourced from two quality vineyards (Connor Lee and Bacchus) the 2010 Chardonnay sees moderate time in new and used French oak. The malolactic fermentation gives a nice full round mouth feel that is accompanied by hints of oak and honey. Light aroma and moderate acidity make this a good Chardonnay for the price. At $14 retail 3+/5
2009 Arbor Crest Connor Lee Chardonnay
Sourced from Conner Lee vineyards this premium Chardonnay is barrel fermented in new French oak with malolactic fermentation. Enjoy big flavors of apple cinnamon crisp and toasted walnuts. The touch of sweet honey and good acidity are reminiscent of many traditional American Chardonnay. $20 retail 4/5
This nearly naked Chardonnay is 75% stainless steel and 25% eastern European oak providing a great balance of crisp and clean with a hint of toasted almonds. Enjoy the green apple and pear flavors with smoked salmon or fruit salad on a summer day. $15 retail
100% Preston Vineyards fruit. The wine spends six months in 50% new French oak. Very impressive with thick juicy flavors. A subtle effervescence greats the tip of your tongue and then gives way to an abundance of fruit. Lots of subtle layers in this full bodied white wine with honey, crisp pear, vanilla, and peaches. The finish on the wine has moderate acid and dissipates quickly. At only $12 this wine outperforms many at twice the price. This is a strong recommend and a definite re-buy for any food appropriate dinner or Chardonnay lover. 4/5
Fruit from Conner Lee Vineyards; full malolactic fermentation and 2 months in French oak. Mild nose with hints of pear and honey. Big and rich butter, vanilla and pear. No oak to speak of. Felt thick and meaty. Finished with a beautiful acidity that washed across the back of my mouth. At a retail price of $12, this is a very well made Chardonnay. I score it a 4+. So far this is one of the best “value” Chardonnay’s that I’ve had. Kudo’s, Mike!
“Sweet lemons, pineapple, & Golden Delcious apple aromas. The entry is exotic and hedonistic with more apple, banana, & lemon custard flavors, balanced by a remarkable tartness that targets your cheeks.”-WinePressNW 2010
This stainless steel fermented and lightly oak aged wine has scents of lemon, pear, honey-dew melon with a hint of cinnamon and flavors of baked Granny Smith apples sprinkled with nutmeg and a squeeze of lemon. $9.99
2011 Chardonnay Day
Celebrate the second annual Chardonnay day (May 26) with any of these fantastic Spokane Chardonnays. Join the conversation by tweeting about your experience. Add the hashtag #chardonnay and do a Twitter search and you can see the tweets from thousands of people worldwide. For tips on how to participate, visit here.
Nectar Tasting Room is joining the celebration. Stop by all day for ½ price glasses of Chardonnay from Terra Blanca and Northwest Cellars. Order a full bottle and get your appetizer plate ½ price (open 2-8pm).