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