Monday, July 10, 2006

Oddball Chard

Non-malolactic fermented wines are fun sometimes, as are wines which only see partial malo conversion, and both certainly could see more production volume (especially in the hotter inland counties of California), but there are many chard's produced which have a quite different model...

I had the "pleasure" of tasting what was the oddest style ever for producing Chardonnay at a "BYOB" party this weekend where one of the guests had brought it as their submission for the evening (they disclaimed it by saying it had been a gift from a friend who just traveled thru there...yeah, but why bring this wine back?). It was a bottle of 2004 Ballisteri Chard (aka "the Un-Chardonnay") from Central Colorado (I'm not sure I should thank my pals for pointing that wine out...). And it drank like a disaster.

2004 Colorado Chardonnay ($19) The "Un Chardonnay." Fermented on the skins and stems like a "Red," this Chard is full of body and complex fruit flavors. (Balisteri Wines)

But what made it such a disaster? Certainly it wasn't the region, varietal or a poor vintage...

This white wine is deliberately produced in a red-wine style ~ it's fermented on the skins, seeds, and stems. The makers claim it's "the white that drinks like a red"...which I guess is correct if the red you're drinking is crappy, lacks color, is thin, somewhat bitter and tannic (kinda like a divorce a pal of mine went through once). No one finished what was in their glasses. I'm surprised that their website lists the wine @ $19/btl. I don't imagine they can keep their business afloat with this offering, and I won't be in any rush to seek out other wines form them based on that experience.

Sad but true is the fact that California winemakers tried this style back in the 70's - and then immediately abandoned it. I can barely recall the taste of those wines, and won't bother to compare them for lack of fresh tasting notes. But I will go on record as stating that in my memory those 70's experiments were truly "bad"...

For the life of me, I can't imagine why someone would resurrect this style.


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