With Summer now officially upon us, we’ve taken to cooling off with some nice, chilled local white wines of late.
While we admittedly tend to gravitate towards Sauvignon Blancs for some reason, our latest review is Franciscan’s 2008 Chardonnay Napa Valley.
For some 35 years Franciscan Estate has focused on blending the best from hundreds of lots to craft fine wines that fully express the classic varieties and their vineyard origins. The winery, which is marketed by Constellation Wines U.S., produces a mid-range Napa Valley tier of wines including a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Magnificat, a red wine blend of classic Bordeaux varietals, and Cuvee Sauvage, the first Napa Valley Chardonnay to revive the lost art of wild yeast fermentation.
Light gold in the glass, we got wonderful hints of lemon and honey on the nose. A solid mouthfeel comprised of pear, Granny Smith apple, apricot and butterscotch flavor notes lent their way to a surprisingly long finish.
We found the wine medium-to-full bodied and were happy to discover it was not a California ‘butter bomb’ by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it was quite well-balanced and had many fun layers to discover on each sip, which we attributed (at least partially) to the sur lie aging technique that was employed by winemaker Janet Myers and team.
Pretty apple, honey, and lemon aromas, with hints of toasty oak, honeysuckle, and baked pear tart. Lively, crisp and balanced. Layered with ripe apple and bright citrus flavors that are framed by rich vanilla and cream. Elegant and full, with a long vibrant finish of pear and honey.
This 100% Chardonnay was sourced from blocks in the Carneros and Napa appellations and checks-in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. As previously mentioned, the wine was aged for 8 months sur lie in French and American Oak.
Suggested retail price is $18 per 750ml bottle.
This was one of the better local Chardonnay’s we’ve tasted in some time and at the sub-$20 price range is one that we can strongly recommend.
Full Disclosure: We received this wine as a sample.