2006 Michaud Chardonnay

Chalone Appellation, Pinnacles National Monument, Monterey County, CA
14.3% ABV
$10, down from $14, at the Oakland, CA, store on 29 Oct

2006_Michaud_ChardI had avoided this wine for a while, but when the price was reduced to $10, I got a bottle.  It is fantastic Chardonnay.  It would have been a great bargain at the original price, but it is even more so at the new price.

The wine has a lovely nose, with flavors of ripe yellow apple with some pineapple, a little green apple, hazelnut / caramel, thyme, and supporting oak.  It is ripe and viscous, but balanced nicely with mildly lemony acid.  While it is full-flavored and gently viscous, it is very nicely nuanced and complex.  It was tasty right away, but it really integrated well after about 1.5 hours of air in a decanter in the fridge, and kept improving from there.  (Although in the fridge, I thought it was best a bit warmed from fridge temp.)  While I expect it could hold on well for a while longer in cool storage, with its flavors moving more toward the darker yellow / hazelnut / caramel, there’s no reason, IMO, to wait to drink it.

This is easily the best Chardonnay I’ve had in a long time, including non-GO purchases.  I can still taste it in my mouth long after the last sip.

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23 thoughts on “2006 Michaud Chardonnay

  1. bin5

    I was in the Bay Area this weekend for a family event and I met up with BW at the Oakland store. I will say that I got a good bottle, very good. It is showing its age very well with its rich but not overbearing flavors and nice balance without overdone oak. Wish I could have bought some more and brought it back on the plane to WA. I remember the good old days when I could carry a case on the plane and put it under the seat.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      Damn, I do remember those good old days when we could stow that case under the seat. I no longer fly due to the TSA. I am happy you liked the Michaud Chardonnay and still surprised that the wine is is still on the shelves. These kind of wines can live a long time.

      Reply
  2. Cindy Larson

    Hmmm.. i think this started as a very nice burgundian style Cali chardonnay, and a great AVA, nonetheless! But the prior comment that some bottles were bad was telling. I tasted this wine twice, from GO, in the last week- two separate bottles. I was sorely disappointed, as a fan of several Chalone Chards. I am sensing some maderization… the golden color, a sense of sherry/caramel flavor. Some may like this in chards, but I do not. Maderization is a result of heat or oxidation, which is not something you want in a chard. It is considered a flaw. Good in Madeira, but not a chard!

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Cindy and welcome! Your description sounds like you got a not-so-good bottle, as I did not taste any oxidation in my bottle. If you still have it around, you should return it for a refund (I think you need your receipt for this) or for store credit. It sounds like I should open up one of the bottles I got during the sale to check and make sure it’s okay. 🙂

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        The bottle I opened this evening (acquired from the Berkeley store during the November sale) was indeed a bit different from the one I reviewed above. It did taste a little oxidized until it had aired in a decanter in the fridge for a couple hours, when it became a nice, aged Chardonnay. It was riper, with no green flavors, and not as fresh and lively, but still very nice, and without the previous oxidation. I think I’ll drink my other bottle pretty soon.

        Reply
    2. Darrell

      Cindy, if you are getting a rancio smell and flavor, the color of the wine should have started browning. Is your “golden” a deep yellow or is it browning?

      Reply
      1. Darrell

        Uh oh, finally had a bad bottle that has gone to the sherry side. Going to have to drink up possibly. There was a hint of brown in the golden yellow.

        Reply
  3. BargainWhine Post author

    The consultant setting up the wine section of the new San Francisco store (on Geary) said that some of these bottles were spoiled. I hope it wasn’t too widespread. And don’t forget you can take your bottle back for any reason for a refund if you have your receipt or store credit if you don’t.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      This is still widely available in the SF bay area and I can’t believe it’s still around except for the mentioned bottle variability. Had I not gotten enough from the Nov. sale, I’d have stocked up during this Dec. sale. My only complaint I have is that the wine is slightly bitter which I suspect is from the new barrels they use. BW describes the “darker yellow” in terms of flavor, but the color of the wine is exactly that, a deep toned yellow from a high proportion of new oak. When visiting Chalone vineyards in 1974, I was surprised by the tiny chai and the temperature they barrel fermented the white wines as most other wineries cold fermented their whites in refrigerated tanks, standard Calif. practice back then to promote the production of fruity esters. In fact, Dick Graff may have been the first to employ all Burgundian winemaking techniques that I can remember. Not sure about Hanzell back then. Anyway, these type Chardonnays aren’t cheap to make and at the sale price of $8/btl. is quite a bargain.

      Reply
      1. Darrell

        Haven’t had a bottle since Nov. 2013 when they went on sale and finally had one the other morning and it was fine and still like the bottle BW first evaluated. Hope my other bottles are like this and not like some of the bad encounters reported here.

        Reply
  4. weinish

    I wasn’t as impressed with this wine as others have been.

    I found it too effervescent, and by the next day I found the taste actually became worse. Some people appreciated the age, but I thought the showing of the age was more of a turnoff.

    Returned 4 bottles to Oakland, where they still had a good amount left as of yesterday.

    I ended up missing out on more of the Madiran from Berkeley, but getting a lot of the Soave, French Sparkling, and Ripasso.

    I still have a hard time spending above $9 at GO, even though I do so without hesitation elsewhere. Not sure why that is, but I think it prevents me from getting any of the better wines people discussed throughout the sale.

    Reply
  5. Chris Winter

    I tried one bottle of this based on some good recommendations, found it to be an outstanding chardonnay. Went back the next morning and bought six more. This being the holiday season, I plan to hand out a few as gifts. I expect my friends to be impressed.

    Reply
  6. dluber

    Diggin’ it! Rich but well balanced, satisfying without being heavy, interesting and distinctive – perhaps a more Burgundian CA chard? At $8, I took a case even though I really am trying NOT to buy wine any more. Although I’ve certainly blown through a case in a weekend on occasion with a little help from my friends.

    Reply
  7. weinish

    I purchased 2 bottles yesterday. The “oak” scared off the lady, so I went light on the buy. I took the one bottle labeled $9.99 then pulled the tag off the other.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi weinish. While this is definitely CA Chardonnay, it is IMO far from heavy and oaky, especially after 1.5 hr of air. Still at the Berkeley store, too, and selling pretty well.

      Reply
  8. frank

    Went to Oakland yesterday and the price showed $13.99 on the rack. However during checkout it scanned $9.99 before the 20% discount. Seeing that I went back a bought another case.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Frank. Yes, when I got the bottle I reviewed above, the Michaud Chardonnay was in three separate places on the shelves. One said $9.99 and the other two said $13.99. I inquired and found that that price had indeed been lowered, but not all the labels had been updated. I would have thought they would have fixed that right after I asked them about it. 🙂 But I’m glad to hear you were able to get so much of it!

      Reply
  9. Vin du Pays

    Seems this wine gets about 90 points and retail at about $26. Thanks for the review Bargin, got some at $8 and will buy more tomorrow. Picked up 5.5 cases of great bargains today! I think the Mosaic, Dry Creek Valley 2011 Cab is a good one too.

    Reply
  10. Alan Reinke

    As I have found in years past, GO has put the price back up in advance of the sale. They have a few cases at the Oakland store, but they are $14 per bottle today. They did this last year with a couple of wines I wanted.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Alan. I have never noticed prices going back up, except sometimes after a wine had been gone for a while. Thanks for the alert. The Michaud Chard at the Berkeley store this morning, at least 4 cases, was still $10.

      Reply
  11. Richard

    Michaud is a high end winemaker in the Monterey area. I’ve visited their vineyard and their wines are uniformly excellent, not to mention expensive. Their Pinot Noir is $40+ per bottle.

    Reply

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