Wednesday, August 08, 2007

2006 Kim Crawford Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay

The theme for this month's WBW is Naked (i.e. Unoaked) Chardonnay. It is an interesting pendulum in the wine world that has swung from too much oak to none at all. Personally, I am not fussed by 'oaked' or 'unoaked' - these are simply terms like 'dry' and 'off dry' - words to help me determine the ultimate pairing for the wine and not any comment on the quality of the wine. Compare an oaky New World Chardonnay to a oaky Chablis and you will see that the presence or absence of oak is not the defining feature of the wine (although HOW it is used may be...)

But I digress. I like both, if they are well made, and tonight's wine is exactly what I like to see in an unoaked Chardonnay. The 2006 Kim Crawford Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay aromatic, with lemon toast and pineapple, quite minerally, simple but pleasing. On the palate it was very flavourful, with the fruit expressing itself well, followed by a crisp, bitter, minerally aftertaste. Very well balanced, this is a wine to enjoy today, right now, in all of its naked glory.
13.5% alcohol
Score: 16/20
Price: C$18.95 (SAQ)

I am certain that my selection tonight will be replicated many times over, for the simple reason that I COULDN'T FIND ANY OTHERS! This was truly the only Chardonnay marked unoaked in town. Sadly, a slight deviation from American Wine Month at Joe's.

Thanks, once again, to Lenn - father of WBW and the host of WBW #36. Cheers!


Barry said...

As you say Joe it is how the oak is used. It's very rare that I will try a US Chardonnay nowadays for example.
When you lick your lips and feel the weight of the oak,,then it's a no-no for me.
It's an age thing I guess(wine age)..when I started drinking wine..that's what I I search for the natural fruit..and generally find it elsewhere. Your post of only finding one...means there is no change going on...are there too many 'New' drinkers..or is the general taster wanting his cupfull of 'oak'...
The French have always managed to get it right with Chardonnay...Meursault and top Chablis are usually great wines..perfectly don't tell me the growers in the States can't copy that.


Joe said...

I suspect that there are probably French winemakers who use too much as well, and some Americans who use it judiciously. The key is to seek them out, I suppose. As for not being able to find unoaked wine, I will confess I didn't really ask around, so the 'unoaked' on the label made it easey for me. I have not had a Meursault recently, will have to try one.

Barry said...

Meusault..been a year since I had one..and it was a bargain on a ship..they couldn't sell it so were offering it cheap..I bought the rest.Otherwise..they are like all white Burgundy..expensive...
I have just purchased 6 bottles of 2005 Chablis(Domaine des Malandes, Vau de Vey)...which is a great vintage.Sell the car Joe..and buy a few cases...or try some whites from the south ..Languedoc have some fine whites lightly oaked..and needing air before the real flavours appear.


Marcus said...

Hey I tried this bottle on the weekend. Despite being unoaked I still found it very weighty, very buttery, almost smoked but perhaps I'm just thinking of the toastiness you mention and those big exotic fruit flavours in there.

Followed it immediately with a Gran Vina Sol (another Chardonnay, but delicately oaked) from Torres and I actually found it much more mineral! I guess people's preferences can be determined by the vines and vintner, rather than the presence of oak.

By the way, I've been really intrigued by these "fine whites needing air before the real flavours appear" -- someone should organize a tasting based on that idea.

Joe said...

Hi Barry. Yes, the price is one reason you see so few here. The 2004 Malandes Vau de Vey is available locally - I will pick up a bottle and let you know how it goes. As for the Languedoc, I find I am really getting into the Southwest France whites (Jurancon, Pacherenc, VdP Cotes de Gascogne). Maybe I will have to dive back into those.
Hey Marcus. That butteriness is the malo and riper fruit I think. Had the Grand Vina Sol before - I agree with the minerally part, and crisp (almost effervescent) as far I recall. Oak is just one instrument in the vintner's repertoire. As for airing whites, I had another heavily oaked Chard last night that could qualify for 'needing air'. Love the idea - it is like pulling teeth to get my group to taste whites. We can discuss on Sunday.