Skip to content

Clos Pepe Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills, 2006

March 16, 2008

~$40US, 100% Chardonnay, Clos Pepe Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, California

Extremely pale straw, nearly colorless. White peaches, green apples, mango, and a cold steeliness on the nose. Salty-silica maritime notes in the mix as well. Great aromatics, but the poise and elegance up front portents a very different wine than one might expect from a California chardonnay.

Razor laser focus on the palate. This is a ripping chardonnay with full-throttle acidity, serious vitality and vigor. No ‘oakiness’ evident, other than whatever it took to add some weight to the midpalate. So fresh, clean, and precise – This is extreme chardonnay. I’ve been drinking lots of Riesling and Chenin Blanc lately, and what struck me was the fruit ripeness is totally complete, but it’s so dry and acidic. No make-up, no stylization. I wouldn’t call it classically balanced, but it does have a great place at the table with firmer/fattier fish, Japanese cuisine, or cheeses.

Personally, I am a sucker for acidity, and really enjoyed the nearly palate-stripping power here. It’s fresh, true, and extreme – so you have to know what you are getting into. But if you get into the high-toned acidity of Chablis, bone-dry Rieslings and Loire whites, you’ll be surprised at what this new world Chardonnay can offer. I’d be curious to see what a few years of cellar-time would do – but unfortunately, my only bottle is gone. The price and rarity prohibit this from being a great value, but it is a unique wine and one to try at least once. Kudos Wes!

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: