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Take the Chardonnay Challenge!
© by Linwood Slayton
Cheers to all my fellow oenophiles (wine lovers).

I had the good fortune to taste two excellent bottles of Chardonnay this week. I recommend them both and urge you to try them if you can find them. The first is Saddleback Cellars 1999 Napa Valley; this wine is a full bodied Chardonnay that is golden hued and has a buttery taste. (cost-$19); the second is Lava Cap, 1999 Reserve El Dorado. (cost $20) This wine is a bit lighter and has a lighter hue than the Saddleback. Both were excellent.

I want to spend a few minutes this week talking about taste. The "wine" term for taste is palate. We all have different taste preferences. Some people prefer the light, delicate and more subtle style; others prefer the big, bold "in your face" style.

Here's an exercise that is fun and easy and will help you and your friends determine what is your taste preference or palate:

Buy a bottle of Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay and a bottle of French Chardonnay such as Barton & Gustier. Chill the wines and set out two glasses per person that is participating in the test. Serve the wines "blind" in a bag and pour a sample of each in each glass. Have everyone compare the smell and taste of each wine noting what they like or dislike about the aroma and taste of each wine. Then have each person announce which wine they preferred and why. It should be intersting to see how many prefer the California as opposed to the French. Typically, about half will prefer the California heavier wine and the other half will prefer the lighter French Chardonnay.

This exercise also works well with red wines.

Feb. 26, 2001

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