Tuesday, May 26, 2009

*** $ Walnut Crest Chardonnay, 2006, Valle Rapel, Chile

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Review: Walnut Crest Chardonnay is part of the Walnut Crest line of value-priced wines from the producer Vinedos Emiliana of Chile. The grapes are from the Valle Central region.

The Walnut Crest Chardonnay is transparent in glass, hints of golden yellow. Served cool, on the nose I get apple and pear with just a touch of cream.

On the palate, this chardonnay produces a tingly mid-mouth fruit, consistent with the apples and pear that were seen on the nose. Not many secondary notes to back up the primary fruit. I am hunting for mineral, glycerine, butter, lemon - but find no hint of any of those, frankly. So, it is a tad too simple to gain my attention, but wholly pleasing in a most forgettable way.

I'm going to let this warm up a bit, however, and give it another try.... waiting... waiting... served closer to room temperature, the nose now shows same fruit as before, but this time includes just a touch of wet stone - nice! On the palate, a bit of silkiness accompanies the crispness, offering a nice balance, and clean, even finish.

Thus, we'll offer three stars, moving this to "best value" status - but with the definite caveat that you should not serve this too cool! Please bring closer to room temperature to bring out its intrinsic allure.

Walnut Crest Chardonnay had the distinction of a second place finish in a Wall Street Journal tasting of 60 South American chardonnays under $20 each. Not bad, considering that Walnut Crest was among the least expensive of the bunch!

Find Walnut Crest Chardonnay at WineZap.

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