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.