Thursday, January 19, 2012

Updated Review: ***+ $ Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, WA, Vintages 2006, 2008 - BEST VALUES


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By way of background:  The Columbia Crest Grand Estates line is more widely recognized for its red wines, less so for its chardonnay, which also hails from the Columbia Valley in Washington State. The Grand Estates Chardonnay is made on its lees, which is the yeast residue from fermentation. The lees and wine are stirred together regularly, called "batonnage", which creates a rounded mouthfeel in white wines. Let's see how the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay fares in a tasting...

2006 VINTAGE, Original Review, March, 2009:  Three years from vintage date.

 
In the glass, the wine is quite transparent, showing just a light honey tint. The nose is bold - almost spectacular, really - with grass and butterscotch and fresh peach.

On the palate, the butterscotch takes over entirely, drawing across your mouth with a motor oil viscosity, leaving off tiny sparkles of fruit as it glides. Very low acids - your cheeks won't even notice a tingle It finishes quite long. gliding slowly to a clean close.

In all, a smooth, mineral-driven ride. Not as intense as I might have hoped, but I would come back to it again - so that's three stars on the Spirit of Wine scale. Outstanding value for the price.

Interestingly, the chardonnay follows the same overall style as the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot, showing a low-intensity, smooth, oily, low-acid experience. It is a touch more distinctive and memorable in the chardonnay.
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Updated Review, a year and a half later, August, 2010, now four years from vintage date: Deeper golden color now. Still a striking nose: hay, butterscotch and stainless steel.  Shows the same, mineral, dry butterscotch, viscous palate. I'll add a plus to the three stars now for it's age-worthiness and its beguiling nose.  Even a stronger "best value".



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2008 VINTAGE, Original Review, January, 2012:  This is being tasted from bottle four years from vintage date.

In the glass, the wine is light yellow and vanilla.

The nose is quite consistent with the earlier vintage - bright butterscotch and peach.

On the palate, sweet and sleek gliding.  Solid and flowing brings mineral and oak. Clean, easy, light acid style.  Very becoming and tasty.  Despite the apparent sweetness on the palate, the finish comes on crisp and clean. 

Remains three stars with a plus for friendliness.

Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: More hay and less fruit on the nose. No change to the palate.

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