Friday, October 15, 2010

**** $ Le Petit Pauvre Chardonnay, 2007, Monterey, CA - Wine Review and Rating (BEST VALUE)

Find prices and availability for Zagat Wine introductory mixed case.

By way of background, original review, November, 2009: Le Petit Pauvre Chardonnay is built from grapes collected from a number of Monterey County, CA, vineyards, south of San Francisco. It was finished with French oak to a pretty hefty level of 13.9% alcohol. Winemaker Bill Knuttel has spent prior years working with such wineries as Chalk Hill and Saintsbury before setting out on his own Le Petit Pauvre label.

Le Petit Pauvre chardonnay was acquired as part of the introductory Zagat Wine Club selection. It also seems to be a regular component of other wine club offerings, including such as WSJWine (Wall Street Journal Wine) and 4seasonswine.

"ZagatWine" - part of the broad Laithwaites Wine group from the UK - is promoted by the well known Zagat Survey group, offered by founders Nina and Tim Zagat. This collection included a case of 12 wines, with four reds and four whites each. The initial shipment arrives with a promotional pitch to have your friends join the club, along with one-pagers on each of the delivered wines.

In the glass: An almost transparent wine, with a slight yellow and light golden cast.

On the nose: Minerally-sweet citrusy-tart pear. Pretty bold overall.

On the palate: Sweet, even, mineral mid-palate is the first note. Think rich, ripe pear, though not quite as sweet as that. Unfolds to bring the slightest tanginess to the roof of your mouth, with a light unfolding prickly robe of rich lemony pear sliding down the crevices of your cheeks. Yum.

And the finish: A bit of sugar, fruit and tangy vanilla stays tucked in your upper cheeks for a long, slow finish.

In summary: Compelling, accessible, rich and layered. Four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, as I would stay with it for an evening without reaching for another white wine. Stunning value at its bargain introductory price. Still at best value at its regular price level too.

Updated Review, about one year later, October, 2010:   Sweet, layered, deeper pear aroma now.  Palate is really quite consistent, with one exception:  the lemon has melted away, leaving just the mildest hint of acid, without that extra lemony twang.  I like it slightly better with this extra year of age.  Outstanding.

Find prices and availability for Zagat Wine introductory mixed case.

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