Gallo wines invited me on their first ever Chardonnay tour and allowed me to discover a whole new world of California wine that I am looking forward to tasting more of, in the form of Chardonnay. I have to admit that growing up in California, ‘Cab is King’, and I am one of the proponents of this mindset. Chardonnay is something that I often find myself disappointed with – I guess the real reason has been due to consistency. In the past, every time I tried a Chardonnay, it was the same as the last – something industry people refer to as an ‘oak-bomb’. I know you are familiar with it – the oaky, buttery bomb that spells California Chardonnay. This classic style grew so popular that it eventually became over-produced and, to those looking for something different and complex, undesirable. Since oak can easily mask and hide underlying grape characteristics, this could be problematic for those looking for more.
Still, Chardonnay is the top selling varietal in the US. It is very versatile and agreeable with just about any palette. One thing I learned in this tour, from MacMurray’s winemaker, is that this grape’s versatility extends to the winemaking process as well, with a variety of techniques that can be used to affect the final taste and flavor or the wine. In the past, the problem has been that huge oak-forward flavor was in demand, so that’s what was primarily made. Now, I believe that consumers and winemakers are both realizing the true range of depth that this grape can offer and, in turn, are testing and tasting its many shapes and forms.
This is where Gallo’s Chardonnay tour comes into play. With their extensive portfolio and range of wines, Gallo has somewhere between 40-60 Chardonnay wines alone that they manage for various wine labels. The point of this tour was to taste some very unique Chardonnay wines and to introduce and increase awareness for the various styles this grape can showcase. I felt that the tour was very thorough and knowledgeable and succeeded in opening my eyes to the world of Chardonnay. I was definitely impressed with the efforts they have taken to explore this varietal for the consumer as well as their decision to become a bit more transparent and willing to share their endeavors with the industry.
So that’s my first Chardonnay post as it pertains to this Gallo Tour. In the upcoming weeks, I will review more specifics on exactly which bottles I liked the best! (hint: I already know many of you are also fans of my favorite one!)