Chardonnay FaceOff between Domaine de Bernier 2011 and DeLoach Russian River Valley 2011
We recommend these two Chardonnay wines this week. These are very different styles of Chardonnay.
Domaine de Bernier 2011 Chardonnay at Whole Foods $10.99
A few times a year the Whole Foods Market runs a campaign of ten wines that they term “Top Notch Wines at Easy-to-Swallow Prices.” I think the track record on these wines is about 50-50. I have tried many and recommended a few in the past. The Domaine de Bernier Chardonnay for the “Holiday Top Notch Wines” is by far and away my favorite wine in this ongoing Whole Foods wine promotion. I am totally mystified how this delicious import from the Loire Valley can be sold at this low price. This is a very enjoyable, crisp Chardonnay. There are no oak or big buttery flavors to this wine. It is bright and clean with characteristics of citrus, honey, apricot, and stone minerality. I have not tried a Chardonnay from California that tastes anything like this one. In doing a Google search for the origin of this wine, I found that it is estate bottled by the Couillaud Brothers who are Muscadet producers. The wine is produced from 20-year-old vines growing in a mixed soil of clay and chalk. It is 100% Chardonnay. I liked this wine so much that I went back to Whole Foods and purchased more. Give it a try and have it with some light seafood dishes. It is a wonderful wine. 90 Points.
DeLoach Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2010 at Costco $11.99
DeLoach Vineyards is a winery owned by Jean Charles Boisset, who also owns Buena Vista in Sonoma and Raymond in the Napa Valley. Following his purchase in 2003 of DeLoach, Jean Charles completely revamped the winery, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. The estate vineyards are Biodynamic certified and the wine cellar is modeled after Burgundian winemaking practices. Last September I had the opportunity to interview DeLoach Winemaker Brian Maloney. You can read about it and see a brief video on Brian on the Wine Traveler blog. I was impressed with Brian’s entire winemaking approach, both in care of the land and in producing wine in more of a French style.
This Chardonnay is a totally different Chardonnay than the Domain de Bernier above and more typical of a restrained California Chardonnay. What I mean by “restrained” is that the oak is subtle and the wine shows nice acidity with fruit characteristics. It makes for a good food wine. At this price at Costco, this Chardonnay should delight many California Chardonnay fans. The wine is $18 at the winery, so this is a significant discount. The Wine Enthusiast gave it 90 Points; I say it drinks more like an 88-Point wine. It is definitely a good bargain Chardonnay.
Did you miss last week’s post on taking wine tasting notes? Evernote for wine tasting