Dutch Bill Creek 2008 Chardonnay ($4)

Russian River Valley, Sonoma, CA. 14.5% ABV
Purchased 6/11/2013 at the Berkeley, CA store

Dutch Bill Creek 08 ChardDidn’t know anything about this label and it might be getting old, but it looked like a legit winery, and RRV is a favorite appellation for CA Chardonnay. A quick Google revealed that it was $20 at the winery (Heintz; no, not Heitz) and $16 at Wine Spies, which was probably its last stop before Gross Out. The vintner says “aromatics jump out of the glass”, and the Spies say “this wine delivers tremendous value”. Does it live up to the hype?

A perfect, tight natural cork popped to reveal a deep gold wine with some jumping buttered popcorn and caramelly oak aromatics buttressed by substantial white and yellow fruit – white peach, lemon curd, and some tropical notes. The palate is rich and thick and full of fruit and umami; however, there’s a strong, unpleasant off-note with a bitter metallic tinge. Hard to pin this one down; as this funk is all in the palate, not the nose, it might be what they call “mousy”, but I’ve never encountered it before – it’s reportedly usually found in poorly coopered reds. It might also be due to insects such as beetles that were crushed with the grapes. Since the earlier reviews sounded really good, and it appears to once have been a nice wine, my bet is on something microbiological gone wrong, which is probably why it’s at GO. Might be worth trying another bottle. After a day in the fridge, the recorked 90%-full bottle wasn’t a lot better.

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13 thoughts on “Dutch Bill Creek 2008 Chardonnay ($4)

  1. Tom

    If your travels ever take you to Lompoc, you’ll find that it’s now quite a center for boutique winemakers (see lompocghetto.com).

    Reply
    1. Tom

      Please pardon the out-of-sequence post re: Lompoc. I was trying to respond to Patrick’s comment of July 5 at 12:18 P.M., currently at the bottom of this thread.

      Reply
    2. Patrick

      Tom, thanks for the info, great winery’s in that area, I usually get off at Buellton and go to Albertsons’ back wall and get 6 bottles of the local wine at 30% off.

      Reply
  2. Seedboy

    I wonder if your experience and mine with the Westwood pinot could be chalked up to the wines being a few more days away from all of the travel they endured to get to your store.

    Reply
  3. lim13

    Just finished reading the notes on the Wine Spies link included above. Five paragraphs…now that’s some serious (if not slightly overwhelming) information on one bottle of wine. I picked one up in Silverdale, WA a week ago. Guess I’ll have to open it up pretty quick here. Seems maybe bin5 grabbed one from his side of the Sound too.

    Reply
    1. bin5

      Yes, I grabbed one and tried it. It definitely had “off” flavors. I was getting sulfur variants that were not very pleasing.

      Reply
    2. lim13

      Based on the review from dluber and the comments that followed, I was not expecting to like this wine. But that’s not the case with the bottle that I tried. My comments: An almost luminescent (as my wife pointed out) green/golden color; it shimmers in the glass. Nose is a bit leafy, but also very toasty, tropical fruity and buttery. After about 90 minutes in the glass, it opens up nicely to lots of sweet, soft butterscotch fruit with moderate lemony acidity. I’m not a big Chardonnay fan; especially the more oaky versions, but I have to say that I rather like this wine. It’s ageing very nicely, though rather than risking serious disappointment, I’d buy this now and drink it up soon. Long finish. I’ve paid five or more times this price for wines hardly half as tasty. I got no microbiological or sulfur issues. Go figure?!!!

      Reply
      1. Tom

        I’m now working on my second bottle of this wine, and my impressions are very similar to lim13’s. I had already finished my first bottle of it when dluber published his review, and I was puzzled by the negative reactions that he and others had to this wine. I got mine at the Santa Maria G.O., and yesterday I noticed that they are down to their last few bottles, so apparently someone else is enjoying this wine, too.

        Reply
        1. Patrick

          I bought two bottles of the Dutch Bill Chard last week in San Jose because the bottle had the things I look for in GO wines, vinted and bottled by, good labeling, not too old, apparently a real winery. I was undecided about the wine I liked it I didn’t, I lik eh! so I just opened the 2nd bottle at room temp and right now it is good. I think we all have a perfect taste in mind and some wines just jump around, and I have times when I have to put away wine I love because my chemistry is just not there! By the way Tom and Tom you are the last GO in SO. Cal. and I wouldn’t be surprised if your competition for juice is some Santa Barbara restaurant owners and chefs.

          Reply
          1. Tom

            Actually, the Santa Maria store isn’t quite the southernmost G.O. store in California. Lompoc, 25 miles south of Santa Maria, has one, and according to the G.O. web site there are several around San Diego and one in Hemet (Riverside County). There’s one in Bakersfield, too. I’ve never been to any of these stores except Santa Maria and Lompoc, so I have no idea what their wine departments are like.

            Reply
            1. Patrick

              On further review you are correct, I heard the So. Cal stores all closed and when I looked for one in Thousand oaks I got the pop up saying most stores were in Northern Ca. OR. WA. etc. I lived in Santa Barbara for five years and never went to Lompoc.

      2. lim13

        Opened another bottle of this tonight. Got one left. More deep golden color a year plus later; last description still fits, but I’m now detecting some caramelly oxidation…so drink up if you have any, as I suggested last time.

        Reply

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