Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chalk Hill Chardonnay

Chalk Hill Winery

Russian River Valley
, California, USA2006
$26.00 -- Wildflower, Tucson, AZ

Color: Pale, milky gold
Nose: Pear, butter
Body: Full
Front: Apricot, lemon
Middle: Garlic butter
Back: Cedar, rosemary, truffle
Burns clean?: Yes, though I had weird dreams
Cap: Cork

I'm breakin' my own rule about reviewing wines served to me at restaurants. Wildflower's got a half-off special on bottles of wine on Tuesdays during the raging hot months of the summer, and this was way too good to pass up. I haven't had Chalk Hill in 10 years; when I was a youngster, my parents used to get it because it was a fantastic Chardonnay for around 20 bucks. Then it skyrocketed, along with a host of other Californiay Chardonnays, and they didn't buy it anymore.

It's a stunning wine. A long, long development on the palate, with clear structural shifts and an immaculate balance of acidic fruits up front, mellowing out to soft butteryness in the middle, and evolving into a woody, earthy finish. My father compares it to a Puligny-Montrachet, and I think that's right, though it's bigger, beefier, somehow. Still, it's subtle.

Wildflower has a world-class tuna tartare, and this was perfect accompaniment. But! We took the last few ounces of it home, and I had the last glass this evening while in my parents' pool. It was just as good with a hot afternoon swim as with raw fish.