Friday, April 8, 2016

Fun with Small Bottles Chardonnay Tasting

Small is Better Offering Two Tastings in One - Fun with Small Bottles

Following the tasting of Rombauer Chardonnay at the Vin Chicago Rombauer Wine Dinner at Adelle's Restaurant the other night, I picked up a half bottle at Binny's to enjoy the following evening. I also picked up a half bottle of Ramey Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2013.

As I've written in these pages (screens) before, buying 375ml half bottles allows one to enjoy two wines with dinner rather than just one. Tonight, this provided the chance to do a comparison tasting of the just discovered/tasted Rombauer Chardonnay 2014, alongside another known brand and label, Ramey Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2013, also available in half bottle small format.

Or course, one could open two bottles of wine, but the half bottle provides an affordable, convenient comparison tasting.

Such comparison tastings provide not only a fun experience, but a more in-depth and revealing side-by-side comparison of one against the other. A selection of half bottles can be found at Binny's Beverage Depot, the wine mega-merchant super store (pictured below).

For a casual Friday night dinner and wine and cheese tasting, Linda prepared her delicious, decadent Baked Brie Cheese in Filo Dough with toasted almonds, whipped fresh berries, and honey.

Interesting, the tasting revealed our preference for the less expensive Rombauer over the Ramey. Both were awesome when paired with the berry fruit, nut cheese and honey plate.

Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay 2014  

We had this wine just last evening at the winemaker dinner, served with seared U12 scallop, vanilla bean butter sauce, and mango-pineapple salsa. The Chardonnay was one of the highlights of the dinner tasting flight of six wines across five courses. So it was, ideal to compare it against another similar Chardonnay.
From the 2014 vintage, another ideal growing season with warm, dry conditions that resulted in excellent fruit quality that resulted in wine with rich flavors and a creamy texture for great QPR - quality price ratio in a quality Napa Chardonnay.

Butter colored, medium bodied, pleasant aromas and rich bright flavors of citrus with tones of pear and creamy vanilla, with hints of mango, melon, spice and butter with nice acidity on the tangy finish. 

RM 90 points.  

Ramey Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2013 
This 2013 Russian River Chardonnay is 36% from four different Dutton ranches (Perry, Mengle, Sebastopol & Mill Station); 16% from Martinelli’s Laughlin Road Vineyard; 13% from King Vineyard; 13% from four Rochioli vineyards (Allen, Mid-40, River, Hill); 10% from Forchini Vineyard; 5% from Westside Farms; 4% Frostwatch; and 3% from Hudson Vineyard.

Clear, pale straw color, medium bodied, this is a complex cacaphony of flavors - fruits, toasted nuts, spices - perhaps revealing the broad multitude of sources in the blend. This is a contrasting style to the Rombauer - firmer, tighter and more structured and more complex, probably more suited to more complex and bigger food accompaniment, but less suited to the mild baked brie with berry fruit and honey, which set up well with the pear, vanilla, citrus tones of the Rombauer. Hold this for grilled Salmon entree.

A compendium of notes from the popular well known reviewers refer to this wine's power and elegance, rounder, weightier and richer with with flavors as diverse as apricot pit, mint, butter and dried flowers blossom, baking spices and honeysuckle, finishing with a mineral bite for some contrapuntal complexity....

A fun and revealing comparison and tasting none-the-less.

RM 88