This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20080130.php.
Cute animal labels? Holy Cow!
Tired of cutsey wine labels that try to grab your attention with precious little animals? There's nothing very cute about a full-grown cow, but this fun label adorns a pleasant, crisp and appley Chardonnay.
Let's follow up on Monday's report on a big, pricey Washington State Syrah made in an Australian style with a contrasting look at a fresh, affordable Washington Chardonnay that reminds me more than a little of a modest white from France.
Charles Smith Wines, best known for its "K Vintners" line of high-end, sturdy Washington State reds, gets the credit for this Columbia Valley white dubbed "Holy Cow." Its label bears a simple black-and-white drawing of what looks to my untutored eye like a hefty Holstein dairy cow, a small halo floating jauntily over her head.
You'll find no silly little penguins or kangaroos with tails in colors never seen in nature here, folks; just an attractive, food-friendly Chardonnay in a clean, crisp and fresh European style. Wine maker Charles Smith, the winery Website says, "loves to drink wine." I think that attitude shows in his eminently drinkable Holy Cow. You'll find my tasting notes below.
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Charles Smith Wines 2006 "Holy Cow" Columbia Valley Chardonnay ($12.99)
Transparent straw color with glints of gold. Fresh, delicate apple scent, juicy and gently fruity. Simple and fresh, crisp Granny Smith apples, fully dry and properly acidic. Characteristic un-oaked (or lightly oaked) Chardonnay, bears a closer kinship to a basic Macon or generic Bourgogne than a fat, buttery and oaky New World Chardonnay. Fine if you like that style, and I certainly do. (Jan. 18, 2008)
FOOD MATCH: A splendid match with the rich aromatics of mahi mahi cooked en papillote with onion, garlic, ginger, lemon and lime, soy sauce, sesame and peanut oils and black and red peppers, the dish featured in last week's 30 Second Wine Advisor FoodLetter.
VALUE: Tastes like a good, basic Old World Chardonnay and priced a little better. No complaints here!
WHEN TO DRINK: Not a real candidate for cellaring, but the clean screwcap should hold it for a year or two on the wine rack.
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