East Coast vs. West Coast

This week I decided to sample two Chardonnays, back to back, for an East Coast/West Coast showdown.  The first Chardonnay was the 2010 Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay from North Carolina and the second was the 2010 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay ($20).

The Biltmore was very easy to drink.  Which was great because we opened it after my son’s third birthday party.  I’d love to tell you how it paired, but we didn’t get that far.  A fresh pear green in color, with similar nose.  Hints of citrus, rounded with a bit of buttery notes.  There was some of the banana that you find with malo-lactic fermentation.  I would say this would be a very versatile wine, but not to pair it as you typically would when you think Chardonnay.  The oak was light, the fruit remained on the crisper side.  A fun take on Chardonnay, for sure.

We opened the Robert Mondavi for dinner last night.  I made a light pasta with asparagus, mushrooms, and chicken.  This was, what I consider to be, a very classic Chardonnay.  Classic, but without the heaviness that is sometimes overwhelming.  A pear yellow, lighter than some Chardonnays, but don’t let that fool you.  This bottle drinks like one that is older.  Pear, something tropical, and a floral perfume.  I tasted lemon, apple, some tannic notes, and a nutty, creamy finish.  There is definitely oak, but it doesn’t hit you in the back of the throat as some do.  I enjoyed this wine, especially as it hit the right temperature. 

So who won the bi-coastal showdown?  I think it depends on what you’re looking for in a Chardonnay.  A fun, lighter fruit forward wine with subtle oak or a creamy classic one?  Personally, I can’t call a winner.  As with most wines, there is a time and a meal for each of these.

*{Disclosure: I was provided with these wines from PR Firm, Folsom & Associates. All statements and opinions expressed in this article are my own.}

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5 responses

  1. I’ve got a rather general question: When you sample wines that were provided by someone else are you even allowed to criticize them in case they would be bad? Or do you have to write something “positive” about them?

    • I choose to make constructive comments or just not review if I have nothing nice to say. For example, I have had a couple I didn’t write about at all and in “A Bit More From Biltmore” I think I said what I liked, but that I like more from a wine at that price point. I am “allowed” to say whatever I want, but choose to not be overly critical publicly. Maybe I got a bad bottle, and, the truth is, I am not an expert. I guess it goes back to my teaching days. Help them grow when you can, but find something good if you can. I could be overly generous, as I am in life, but I don’t feel qualified to be overly critical. Wine is so subjective too, so I may not care for something at all but don’t want to scare off those that might.

  2. I’ll admit, I raised my eyebrows at a North Carolina wine, but I’m learning to expand my horizons now that I’ve had a few really good Texas wines. I’ll still take West Coast over an unknown region any day, though… but I try to keep an open mind.

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