Joyce 2010 Chardonnay “Stéle”

Monterey, CA; 13.7% alc.
$5 at the Berkeley, CA store

This unoaked chard piqued my interest; I generally like Monterey-Carmel Chardonnays, although I was unfamiliar with this producer. Fermented in all stainless steel, hence the name, I gotta say it was too steely for me! Maybe it’s just my preconception affecting my perception, but I’ll bet if I were to taste this blind without knowing what it was, the first descriptor I would use is “metallic”. I do enjoy both oaky and unoaked whites, but I don’t think I’ve ever had one that made the fillings in my teeth sing out like this one. The sharpness was no doubt influenced by the high acidity, as well as a hefty dose of sulfite. After the burnt-sulfur smell blew off, there was some nice Chard underneath in a lemony-appley manner, and some decent richness without the heavy buttered popcorn, but I still can’t get too enthused about it. Maybe with time it will become a nice wine, but I find it a bit too shrill and charmless right now. Drinkable but think about what food you’ll serve it with – I can’t recommend it as an aperitif.


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