As we turn the calendar to summer, I find myself drawn to stainless steel fermented Chardonnay over oaked Chardonnay on a regular basis. It is much more difficult to hide wine making errors in a stainless steel chard wile well toasted oak can hide a flaw or two.
Chardonnay made in stainless steel has a long track record in France’s Chablis region, and Virginia wineries regularly produce both oaked and unoaked styles
Without oak influences, mineral nuances, which might be buried under oak character, come to the surface, and mouth feel is also more streamlined.
The 2010 Chardonnay from Cooper Vineyards is a great example of a well designed stainless chard. Starting with a rotating closure (also known as screwcap), this wine is very unassuming. The light straw color is not indicative of the high level of integrity in the wine.
The nose is kiwi dominated with ripe pear undertones. A bright attack moves quickly to an expanding midpalate that exposes cantaloupe and honey dew melon. The stainless steel fermentation provides a crisp clean finish with a grapefruit and peaches undercurrent.
This wine pairs exceedingly well with most picnic fare including grilled chicken and red potato salad
The 2010 Chardonnay is drinking well now and should be consumed in its youth.
DRINK NOW – DECEMBER 2013