Napa(lm) Valley


Recently, our small group of strictly amateur wine tasters held a blind tasting of Chardonnays. One of the wines chosen was a 2010 Napa Valley chardonnay marketed under First Press label and sold by Waitrose at about £17. (This one was bought on offer at around £11.) In the tasting it performed poorly so I thought I would revisit it, tasting it without the distractions of a group of friends. Respecting its provenance, I decanted it.

It was bright in appearance, a very pale lemony green in appearance with slight evidence of viscosity. The nose was of moderate intensity, quite clean and as developed as could be expected but quite restrained in style – not buttery, rather fruity, if anything.

The palate was dry with balanced acidity. Their was considerable weight in the mouth, a richness that was quite attractive. But from here it went awry. It was hot – I mean really hot, almost unpleasant in its in-balance of alcohol. The ABV was 14.5%. I’ve drunk white wines of that ABV – and higher – before but they appeared balanced but this was definitely not. The decanting may have softened what was quite an unforgiving wine but the alcohol domination could not be disguised.

Checking with other on-line critics, they all mentioned its richness and restraint but no-one mentioned the alcohol level. I wonder if our reader has had similar – or even the same – wine? Views welcome, please.

[Richard: tasted this a day after Geoff. Not quite as hot but noticeably ‘hollow’ with little development in the mouth. Short too, so after a few moments the taste had vanished. Very forgettable and poor value at, I think, around £16.]


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