There are so many expressions of Chardonnay. And while I’ve known that in theory for quite some time, it seems to me that lately—within the last two years even—winemakers are taking advantage of what that really means. Any where from round and doughy to crisp to fruit forward, and the whole spectrum that spreads between. Get a good Chardonnay from a reputable winemaker, and he or she will only use the techniques that will showcase the vineyard and vintage. That is the direction Chardonnay is going: while its tastes and textures are still nearly 100% reliant on the winemaker, winemakers seem to be working with the grape, instead of just completely…working the grape.

About the Wine: The Jamieson Ranch Vineyards 2016 Reata Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes harvested from the Sonoma Coast. The wine aged in 100% seasoned French oak barrels.

14% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards 2016 Reata Chardonnay and breathe in almost stereotypical Chardonnay scents of apple, butter, and sour cream. This Chardonnay presents a soft, near clear peach-honey hue on the pour, settling into the glass a kind of cloudy straw yellow. Initial aromas are of apple, pear, butter, popcorn, and you can already sense a lot of acidity. Swirl, and reveal some savory notes like raw cashews, sour cream, a bit of pollen, and the warmth of a field of flowers on a summer’s day.

The palate of the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards 2016 Reata Chardonnay is quite textural straight away. The citrus notes, like lemon, lime, and grapefruit, take center stage immediately. The acidity is, indeed, strong, but purposeful, and rides evenly from start to finish. The finish of the wine sings granny smith apples, with hints of baking spices like nutmeg, cloves, and even ginger, gently lingering in the background.

Food Pairing: I paired the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards 2016 Reata Chardonnay with seared scallops, butternut squash purée, and an apple-fennel slaw. I loved this pairing because the meal gently finessed the wine. The apples and pairs with their crisp attitude, nicely contrasted the textural mouthfeel, giving the wine some vivacity. The almost nuttiness of the microherbs and the natural creaminess of the scallops gave the wine a bit of body, an almost curvaceousness, that wasn’t there when sipping on its own.

One thing I will note is that I kept this wine a bit more chilled (about 50°) than I usually drink my Chardonnay. When this wine started to come up to room temperature, the malolactic acid became a bit more obvious and, to me, almost dominated the palate.

More Info: I received the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards 2016 Reata Chardonnay as a sample for review. (Cheers Megan!) Retail: $20. For more information about Jamieson Ranch, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards website.

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