The appeal of overly oaked, high alcohol Chardonnay?

The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

Re: The appeal of overly oaked, high alcohol Chardonnay?

Postby JC (NC) » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:40 am

I haven't had the Mer Soleil Chardonnay yet but enjoyed a glass of a Mer Soleil Late Harvest wine at a restaurant in Charlotte. On the website they list Late Harvest Viognier in some years, but I'm pretty sure the restaurant wine list had it listed as late harvest Riesling. It was very fragrant with both floral and peach notes so could possibly have been the Viognier. According to the website, 2002 was the last late harvest Viognier produced by Mer Soleil.
JC (NC)
Lifelong Learner
 
Posts: 6076
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:23 pm
Location: Fayetteville, NC

Re: The appeal of overly oaked, high alcohol Chardonnay?

Postby Bill Spohn » Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:11 pm

Big oaky chards are tedious. Sometimes they are just what you are looking for, but more often I prefer a chard that is a bit more deftly crafted.

Making a chardonnay without overusing oak is like making a hamburger without using ketchup - you can't get away with substandard material and you have to know what you are doing as you can't mask any faults with the over-riding flavour of your woody 'adulterant'.

This is one of my pet peeves. Yes, you CAN make a chard with a lot of oak and have it turn out well - but the kicker is that you have to wait several years for the oak level to abate and come into balance with the fruit, because before that the fruit is overwhelmed with the one-note oakiness.

The catch 22 is that 98% of chard is drunk the day it is sold (not all like Jenise - at least SOME of us can wait until we get it home to pull the cork). So the oak is NOT added by the wineries because it will make a better wine, it is added because the wine PR steamroller has ingrained in the consumers' tiny minds that OAK=GOOD. If people don't detect the flavouring they expect they won't buy it and the fact that such wines won't be as good when young comes a distant second in the list of winery priorities.
User avatar
Bill Spohn
He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'
 
Posts: 5035
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm
Location: Vancouver BC

Re: The appeal of overly oaked, high alcohol Chardonnay?

Postby Covert » Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:08 pm

Bill Spohn wrote: Yes, you CAN make a chard with a lot of oak and have it turn out well - but the kicker is that you have to wait several years for the oak level to abate and come into balance with the fruit, because before that the fruit is overwhelmed with the one-note oakiness.


I agree, Bill. My brother's significant comes up with very old Cal chards from her cellar all the time. I mean 15 and 20 years old, which are quite wonderful. She's got one of those deep, dark, dank cellars under an old country manor with the stone walls and cobwebs and dust all over the place, where you can rub the dirt off labels of all kinds of gems that have been forgotten for years.
Covert
NOT David Caruso
 
Posts: 3438
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:17 pm
Location: Albany, New York

Previous

Return to The Wine Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 8 guests