There are so many different styles of Chardonnay — from the crisp and refreshing, a result from 100% stainless steel fermentation and aging, to the full-out butter-bombs that occur from an abundant use of fresh oak and 100% malolactic fermentation. And then everything in between. How a Chardonnay tastes and feels is almost exclusively determined by the winemaker’s chosen process. Which Chardonnay you enjoy, well that is ultimately up to your personal palate. What I love about this Clos du Val Chardonnay is that it’s for the folks who are going to Dante’s fourth circle — the folks who can’t make up their minds. Soft palate, vibrant acidity, and depending on the temperature as milky (or not!) as you like.
About the Wine: The Clos du Val 2016 Estate Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes harvested from the Clos du Val estate vineyards located in the Carneros AVA of Napa Valley, California. The grapes were fermented 100% in French oak barrels and underwent 40% secondary, malolactic fermentation. The wine then aged in 100% French oak barrels (35% new) for 9 months.
Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Clos du Val 2016 Estate Chardonnay and breathe in scents of buttermilk, apple, and seaside funk. This Chardonnay presents a golden yellow hue on the pour and into the glass. This wine emits immediate aromas of apple and pear. A deep breath in reveals that buttermilk, now infused with vanilla and maybe a hint of blonde caramel. Swirl and release light floral notes, enliven the acid, and add to those fruits just a bit of citrus zest as well.
The palate of the Clos du Val 2016 Estate Chardonnay is smooth…ish. There’s a fizzy, almost effervescent quality that lends a bit of white pepper spice — especially on the finish. This wine is not as ML-y as I’d thought based on the nose. Instead, the fruits are fresh and the texture zesty.
Note: This tasting notes are based on keeping the wine at a classically, cool white wine temperature. At room temperature, the butter and milk notes become more prominent and, to my palate, overpower the fruits.
Dominant flavors are of lemon zest, dried apple rings, pear skin, almond, vanilla, a hint of caramel, white pepper, and a finish reminiscent of fresh apple juice with an after breath like a spiced caramel apple.
Food Pairing: I paired the Clos du Val 2016 Estate Chardonnay with a cheese quesadilla with wilted arugula, paired with a chopped salad tossed with a creamy dressing. That creamy dressing accentuated that slight bit of zesty texture. The sweet, but acidic tomatoes brought out the freshness of those apple notes. But the perfect pairing to this meal was the melted cheese — the wine here perfectly cut through the fats and oils providing an overall freshness to the dish.
More Info: I received the Clos du Val 2016 Estate Chardonnay as a sample for review. (Cheers Ben!) Price: $32. For more information about Clos du Val, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Clos du Val website.
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