Ben continues his posts for Laurentide, waxing poetic on Chardonnay….
The Chardonnay grape is one of the most recognizable varietals on the planet and a staple in the world of wine. It is commonly the stereotypical white wine used in pop culture and easily one of the most famous varietal of wines. Chardonnay, however is a very polarizing grape. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say they either love Chardonnay or dislike Chardonnay. Those who drink Chardonnay are then further divided into two different camps, those who prefer it Oaked or those who prefer it Un-Oaked. Oaked meaning that the Chardonnay was aged in Oak barrels at some stage of the production. Un-Oaked is the style of making Chardonnay without the oak barrels and using stainless steel. These varying styles produce two drastically different tasting wines from the same Chardonnay grapes. The Oaked Chardonnay is often a deeper shade of yellow in its appearance, and a distinct buttery flavor. Obviously this varies with which type of wood is used in the barrel but for the most part the taste of an Oaked Chardonnay is clear when tasting. Un-Oaked Chardonnay is often lighter in its appearance, and has a fruity aspect to it that is often covered up in Oaked Chardonnays by the oak tannins.
Here at Laurentide we have just released our 2013 vintage of Un-Oaked Chardonnay. In my opinion it is the ideal representation of the Un-Oaked Chardonnay. It’s an 100% estate wine, that starts off with a lot of fruit and is deceptively smooth for a dry wine. When I first tried it I was blown away with how delicious it tasted. So when I proclaim that Laurentide’s un-Oaked Chardonnay is the gold standard for un-Oaked Chardonnay, I would be wrong. According to the judges at the International Eastern Wine Competition, it was awarded two awards; best of class for its price range and a double gold. This was a competition with blind tasting so no bias influenced the judges decisions. It was the result of pure Leelanau fruit, world-class winemaking, and a lot of hard work from various people who made it possible. In celebration of winning Best of Class and a Double Gold, we are holding a special sale this month for the 2013 Chardonnay. The special is three bottles for $45 which is a great value for what in my opinion, is the ideal example of an un-Oaked Chardonnay. We hope to see you in the tasting room to try it along with our other estate wines!