California Chardonnay may seem like an easy no-brainer wine to pour for an Insider's Pick. As we are prone to do here at Wine Warehouse, there is always a prejudice to break or an old trope that needs to be looked at anew, and Cali Chard is as primed to be examined as any place in the world. Most of the Californian image is the 'New World' style of lush, creamy and buttery style Chardonnay that comes from barrel and malolactic fermentation. And there are many fantastic wines that come from that mold, to be sure. But it has also become an easy default to make all Chardonnay taste the same, too much of 'the same' that there is often a lack of identity. Unoaked Chardonnay is a 4 letter word to some, but it's because the juice usually done in that style is the lowest quality and made as cheaply as possible. High quality juice from quality vineyards have more than enough natural flavor and texture to show off without any sort of boost from aging in barrels, and more great examples are appearing every season.
Lioco began over a decade ago out of experiences between the two founders working at the famous Spago's restaurant in Beverly Hills, and has evolved into a leader in this movement towards more natural, food-centric wines. The base for this Chardonnay is a selection of organic and biodynamic growers in Sonoma County, but a large portion of the fruit is based in the Russian River Valley. Loads of lemon curd on the nose from the first pour, with an underlying zest of green and white fruits and hints of wet chalk aromas. The texture on the palate is round from the extensive time aged on the grape lees, which is time consuming and hardly ever done with less expensive Chardonnay, but brings out the magnificent natural fruit on the palate usually lost behind the oak barrel. Completely dry and loaded with melon pulp and lime zest, fine acidity that brings out a mouth-watering sensation across the finish. A delicious match with fleshier and more complex fish dishes and citrus based poultry.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!