I’m taking a brief detour from my tour of Panther Creek’s estate Pinot Noir vineyards. (If you haven’t followed along thus far, do take a look at these: Maverick, Kalita, and Lazy River. And don’t forget the oh-so-fun Pinot Noir-Chardonnay white wine blend. [know, right?]) No, today I’m featuring their estate Chardonnay—a Chardonnay actually worth drinking. I have a hard time with Chardonnay: it can be bland and boring, or completely unbalanced with all the winemaking things you can do to it. Ah, but here we have subtle simplicity holding hands with a solid structure. Drink it on its own, drink it with food, but either way drink and enjoy.
About the Wine: Panther Creek Cellars 2017 Chardonnay
13.5% ABV; 300 cases produced
Appearance: pale lemon
Aroma: Youthful aromas of medium (+) intensity: apple, lemon, blossom and honeysuckle, pear, nectarine, peach, dill, orange pith, and wet stone; bread dough, cream, vanilla, and matchstick flint.
Palate: The palate is dry with high acid, medium alcohol, medium body and medium (+) flavor intensity. Flavors mimic those aromas sensed on the nose but add a bit more baking spice like clove and nutmeg and increase the presence of that toasty-bread. The finish is medium (+) that leaves a nice citrus-zest—like the bit of bitterness from the rind—on the palate as it fades.
Conclusion: Based on the WSET criteria, I determined that the Panther Creek Cellars 2017 Chardonnay is very good. While the overall intensity of the aromas flavors was just below pronounced, there was a good mix of primary and secondary aroma and flavor characteristics, therefore there is a bit of complexity to this wine. The gentle use of oak adds a depth of flavors, lending just a sprinkling of those baking spice note. Though I cannot say for certain, I’m guessing the wine spent some time in contact with the lees, as there’s just a slight hint of phenolic grip, and of course there’s that medium body—a body that is smooth and just a touch oily. Again, I can’t say for certain, but I suspect there is just a small percentage of malolactic fermented wine used in this blend. While there’s a roundness to the body and there’s a hint of some milky/creamy characteristics in the aroma profile, those dairy notes are not overwhelming on that palate at all and the acidity level remains quite high, perfectly cutting through those bold fruit flavors that are dashed with those baking spices. The finish is just shy of long, but as mentioned, that citrusy note leaves a lovely presence in the breath for the length that it does have.
Food Pairing: Anything with soft to medium cheese. The fruits and acids will cut through the creaminess; the baking spices will bring out some nuttiness; and if you’re enjoying this cheesy dish with an accompaniment of fresh herbs, so much the better.
More Info: I received the Panther Creek Cellars 2017 Chardonnay as a sample. (Cheers!) Price: $45. For more information about Panther Creek Cellars, their wine, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Panther Creek Cellars website.
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**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**