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Lori Lavender Luz

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Friday, February 11, 2011

White: Wine not?

Gimme a Cab, a Merlot, a Tempranillo. Pass the Syrah, a Zinfandel, a Rioja. You're likely to hear me utter the names of any of these red-hued wines.

Others don't roll off my tongue so easily: Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio.

Clearly, it's time for me to expand my wine horizons. It's time, my friends, for me to review a Chardonnay.

For years I have perceived white wines, perhaps unfairly so, as the "why bother" of the wine world. The milk chocolate to the dark, the decaf to the double-shot espresso, the fat-free to the whipping cream.

I blame my disdain on my aunt. My eccentric, annoying, high-octave Chardonnay-loving aunt. Who, from the time my cousins and I were riding our training wheels, would  shriek for her "SHARD-en-NAY" at 4 o'clock each afternoon. (And reportedly still does.)

I asked Twitter and Facebook for help in selecting a $10 (or less) Chardonnay, and found out that LOTS of people actually prefer white wine to red.

Who knew?

Thanks to my Twitter/Facebook friends, I trotted off to my local liquor store armed with a few vintners to inquire about. Most brands were out of the given price range, so I did what any normal red-blooded (heh!) wine drinker would do:

I selected based on the label.

Meet South Africa's Tall Horse 2007. Doesn't it look classy, stately, whimsical?

And a bottle is just $7.99.

One thing that makes South African wines intriguing is that the continent has some of the oldest soil on earth -- known as good terroir to winemakers. This is especially important because the Chadonnay grape is particularly malleable, meaning that it reflects and takes on the traits of its winemaker and its soil.

Tall Horse Chardonnay's winemaker, Jaco Potgieter, says that we can expect from this wine bright gold with generous tropical fruit and vanilla oak aromas revealing a delicious rich and creamy palate packed with forward ripe fruit flavours layered with spicy vanilla and a fresh citrus finish.

Mmmm....spicy vanilla.

Here are the traits I detected upon sippage: apples and pears at the onset with a smooth and citrusy finish. Subtle and well-mingled flavors. But, sadly, no trace of vanilla. Believe me, my tongue searched for it.

Still,Tall Horse Chardonnay was pleasant to my palate.

As far as inexpensive white wines go, this is a decent one, and I'd be inclined to bring it as a gift to a dinner party -- and even put my name on the gift tag.

Further, I am eager to try some of the other offerings of Tall Horse Wines and experience its unique terroir in many shades.

But when I am choosing what I will drink, I'll continue to stick with the red end of the spectrum.

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2 chiming in:

Sheri said...

I can almost hear the "SHARD-en-nay" now. YIKES!

I love that you selected this wine based on something important (like the label)...and that you would give it as a gift AND include your name.

Both say a LOT for this bottle and type of wine. I'll have to check it out.

Thanks for the great review!

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

I generally pick my wine by finding the section of reds then finding the best looking label within the price range I'm comfortable with. $7.99 sounds good to me.

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