A little catching up on my reviews today from our trip to the Chicago area in mid-July. I didn't think it possible but during our first night back in our former neighborhood I actually had the pleasure of drinking wine that were easily given 5 Corkscrew ratings. We were invited to a get-together at Susan and George's house, a couple who are dear friends, and they provided the wine. Both were some of the best Chardonnay I've had in quite some time and I just had to write a few lines about each.
2003 Salus Chardonnay from Staglin Family Vineyards
This first selection had a small production of 340 cases. It is 100% barrel fermented with 50% in new French oak, and the other 50% in one-year old French oak. A beautiful golden color in the glass with wonderful aroma of mangoes and butterscotch. On the palate I noted the oak, as expected, but in just the right amount. It was accompanied with more flavor of apple, peaches and a hint of nutmeg. A long finish brought out the creamy vanilla that I like in a great chardonnay. A little malo-lactic fermentation was used with this wine and I really think it added to the complexity of aroma and flavor. A little research on my part revealed a retail price of $50-55/bottle so I can't say that this falls into the category of everyday, affordability. I will say that it easily earned a 5 Corkscrew rating and I would buy it for that "special" occasion that calls for a splurge every once in awhile.
2004 Von Strasser Rainin Vineyards Chardonnay
The second excellent wine we had was the Von Strasser. On the nose I was treated to aromas of banana, lots of tropical fruit and a goodly portion of oak. In the mouth my taste buds were dazzled with flavors of butterscotch, hazelnut, vanilla and more of the aforementioned oak. Great, full texture led to a creamy, buttery finish. Another one that was easy to stamp the 5 Corkscrew rating on. This one retails for around $45/bottle and also can't be tagged with an "affordable" label. I will say that I would buy this for that "special" occasion or as a gift for someone you really, really like. Thanks to Susan and George for hosting and treating us to these two, great wines. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Both of These Wines!