I’m in love with the boys at Banshee. But it’s purely wine-related, I assure you. How can I not be when they wrap everything I love about Sonoma into bottles of wine? Skeptical though you may be about a new-ish winery’s appellation series Chardonnay — I assure you, the 17 vineyard sites are anything buy crammed into the taste. Winemaker Noah Dorrance and team know how to show enough restraint to truly showcase –and enhance — the best qualities of the fruit. Cheers to Banshee Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.
About the Wine: 2015 was a hard year because it was just so darn hot, and the Banshee Chardonnay was a victim of that. In fact, the guys say they experienced a lot less fruit on some vines, while others experienced shatter. But the quality of the grapes that did grow that year was perfect.
Banshee 2015 Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes harvested from the Charles Heintz Vineyard allotment, Wildcat Mountain Vineyard in Petaluma Gap, and Bohemian Green Valley along the Sonoma Coast — all delightfully cool(er) temperatured areas. I’m not sure the amount and type of oak used here, but I know that, in general, Banshee is quite gentle when it comes to oak fermentation, using neutral or seasoned barrels for a moderate amount of time.
Flavor Profile: Light, bright, a happy yellow on the pour. The initial smell may seem stereotypical of apple, but swirl and stick your nose in a little deeper. This wine has more tropical fruits than you’ll want to give it credit for. Let the wine settle and smell again — there’s an underlining softness (if smells can be soft), as if a bit of nuttiness or cheesiness on the nose as well.
Time to sip. And what I love is the beautifully strong acidic line. Zippy on the tongue straight away, but there’s an enveloping linoleic smoothness that keeps the overall experience calm. There’s just a hint of oak that keeps the wine firm and structured. All these textures act in tandem, so the experience is balanced from start to finish.
Food Pairing: This is a fun wine. I had the 2015 Banshee Chardonnay with a veggie pizza. I loved how the melty, cheesy goodness complimented the textures of the wine. Meanwhile, that strong acidic line did well to cut through the (*ahem*) fat. Add a few chili flakes to the pizza, and the wine will have quite the cooling affect as well. (Although I do recommend serving this wine at proper white wine temp: around 50 degrees Fahrenheit).
More Info: If you haven’t yet read my reviews of Banshee Wines Sonoma County Pinot Noir and Banshee Wines Marine Layer Pinot Noir, please do so — it’s a fun comparison between the two. I have a full review of Banshee Wines Healdsburg tasting room to come on a different site (link will be posted when available).
I found the Banshee Sonoma Coast Chardonnay at Whole Foods (Sale Price: $20). For more information about Banshee, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Banshee Wines website.
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