Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, CA; 14.5% ABV
$7 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 28 May; also at Richmond
This wine came into the Richmond store a few days ago, but I picked it up from the Berkeley store on my day off to have a white wine to go with a ripe Camembert from the GO. I walked around and around the Berkeley wine section trying to find an interesting white wine, and was about to go with a Grenache or two instead when they brought out a pallet that had a couple layers of this wine. (They do still have the excellent Bixby Creek Bridge Chardonnay — ripe, buttery, oaky — but I’ve had a bottle of that already. And was there really zero Pinot Noir?) Anyway, this wine needed some air, but was then very good.
At first, I found this wine sort of musty / bitter, but after about 45 – 60 minutes open (kept with the cork in, in the fridge), the wine opened nicely to show restrained (but neither weak nor austere), elegant fruit fruit of yellow apple, white pear, tang of some green fruit (apple / lime?), with supporting oak and a slightly chalky minerality. It presents the RRV Chardonnay character very well, and is an interesting contrast to the aforementioned Bixby Creek Bridge from Napa. It’s sort of an “upgraded” Nilsson, which is itself very good for $4.