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Up from the cellar: Ovation Chardonnays

Posted on: November 26th, 2011 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

If you follow the standard cellaring recommendations for white wines, you should have consumed your 2007 Chardonnays one or two years ago. However, when it comes to Chardonnays made in the “Burgundian Style”, this does not necessarily apply.

Burgundian syle Chardonnays are produced with limited amounts of Malolactic Fermentation and are more acidic than what many of us are used to. But in addition to a good food pairing tartness, these wines can age for years and just keep getting better.

A prime example of this is a 2007 Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast in California that many of us have been tasting every year since late 2008. This one is produced by Freestone Vineyards (owned by Joseph Phelps Vineyards) and they simply call it their “Ovation” Chardonnay.

When it was new, its bouquet was dominated by orange citrus and browned bread right from the oven. The body was full and crisp with a refined tartness reminiscent of a fine French Pouilly Fuissè. These captivating characteristics made it a tasting room favorite upon release. Even though it has always been priced at $40 a bottle or more, we stocked up anyway.

As with any wine, there is a risk in this, especially for California whites. If the wine does not age well and you miss its peak, you lose. With Ovation, this concern turned out to be no problem at all. Every year it holds up and just keeps improving.

This year’s taste was no exception. A bouquet that was once simple orange citrus, turned into what could be called “a chorus of flowers”. There is so much complexity in the bouquet that it’s like walking through a tropical flower garden blended with so many scents that it’s nearly impossible to identify any individual. While the fresh baked bread remains, it is less dominant. The flavors still have a refined acidity, but sporting a soft texture with pears and oranges that’s just perfect.

So lesson learned. Some Chardonnays respond well to the cellar, but must be checked from time to time. If the acid level is good when it’s new, there may be promise for improvement later on. If you can find some 2007 Ovation online or at a valley bottle shop, get some. You won’t be disappointed.

Try with lobster, crab legs, or steamed clams. It will go well with any seafood, bread, and dipping sauce. These are also traditional favorites for Thanksgiving feasts where there are a wide variety of flavors. Be sure to feature a salad that includes a good selection of greens, the more variety the better. Make it harmonize with that “floral chorus”.

Serve after 40 minutes in the fridge (50-60 degrees). It will continue to develop interest as it warms up.

Article by Tom Peiffer, Phoenix Wine Shopping Examiner at Examiner.com

View more of Tom’s articles on Examiner.com by visiting his writer’s page.

About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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