2011 Raymond Chardonnay Reserve Selection Napa Valley
For years I’ve been a die-hard ABC wine drinker. If you don’t know what that means, I’ll explain. The trend through the 2000’s was for California winemakers to produce oak-forward Chardonnay wines that flew off the shelves, being gobbled up by young wine drinkers and women’s book clubs. It got to the point where you just couldn’t taste anything but oak and butter. I absolutely hated California Chardonnay. And I was in good company because someone in my same flavor-profile camp, coined the term, “ABC”, Anything But Chardonnay”. So whenever I’d go out to happy hour, I’d order Anything But Chardonnay.
I Saw the Light
But then, a most wonderful thing happened. And I’m not even sure when the voice of reason returned but winemakers started showing some restraint and stopped using a heavy hand with the oak aging. The result was Chardonnay with actual fruit flavors.
I feel like the Grinch on Christmas morning after he realizes the Who’s are still happy. My heart, well make that my love, for Cali Chardonnay has grown three sizes. So I’m on my literary sleigh riding downhill to spread the word and pass the bottle.
Now I am on a tear trying California Chardonnay whenever I get a chance. I’m in search of sensibly oak aged Chard with fruit flavor. That’s exactly what I discovered in this Raymond Chardonnay. Stephanie, the other half of Fine Living Enthusiast is a huge Chardonnay fan. When I do the wine shopping, (Hey, somebody has to do it.), I try to find her interesting Chardonnays to drink that mainly will be perfect for casual drinking, but also move seamlessly into dinner wine. I totally scored with this one. This is a lovely wine.
The New California Chardonnay
It has the right amount of oak which gives it a bit of vanilla and nutmeg but totally pleases my palette with delicious fruit. I tasted pear and lemon, reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc, but with far more structure and body. This Raymond Reserve Selection Chardonnay label reads, “Barrels produced 720, Five generations of family winemaking”. Maybe it’s slick marketing but it makes me feel as though this winery takes a lot of pride in their craft. It sure tastes as though they do.
We are talking about a Napa Valley wine that I was able to purchase for $17. I caught a great sale because normally it retails for closer to $22.
“Welcome Back”into my life California Chardonnay. I missed you and I’m so glad we have renewed our friendship.