by Ian Froeb
The world produces an ocean of chardonnay. In California alone, almost 100,000 acres of this incredibly popular grape variety are planted. That's enough chardonnay to make -- using modest crop and efficiency estimates -- over 250,000,000 bottles. Add the chardonnay acreage in France and Australia, and the worldwide total pushes 400,000 acres.The Pointlessness of Points (March 24, 2009):
Given chardonnay's ubiquity, it's not surprising that most chardonnay is garbage. However, despite the current hipster aversion to anything and everything chardonnay, there are some really nice wines made from this over-exposed -- and frequently over-manipulated -- over-ripe grape.
What's most important is how you -- yes, you! -- perceive the combinations of aromas and flavors in a particular wine on a particular day, and whether, ultimately, you enjoy them. This will be a function of your body, the environment in which you're consuming the wine, its temperature, your health, what food, if any, you're consuming with the wine, what you had to eat earlier in the day and countless other factors. The absurdity of assigning a number to such a fleeting personal experience is surpassed only by the idea of placing significant weight on a number assigned to such an experience of another person!Spanish Spring (May 5, 2009):
lbariño makes its home in the Rías Baixas -- the grand estuaries that are the Spanish equivalent to the fjords, though made by rivers, not glaciers. This area is relatively cool and wet, at least in comparison to the rest of Spain.Want to read more of Dave's take on wine? Visit the complete archive.
My ideal albariño is ripe, but not too much so. Some folks let the grapes get really ripe, and others even ferment and age in new oak, but this destroys albariño's charms for me. At its best, albariño is like biting into a not quite ripe peach: The stone fruit aromas are there, but acidity is still prevalent and keeps things zippy.