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A Chardonnay classic: Wente Riva Ranch

Posted on: August 21st, 2012 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

Did you ever sample a wine that either has a familiar label or taste but you just can’t place it?  Nearly everyone can relate to that one.  Especially if someone asks, “Have we had this stuff sometime before?”  And with all that wine out there, this comes as no surprise.  That’s just what happened during a recent tasting in Ahwatukee Foothills.

The wine was Wente Vineyards’ 2010 “Riva Ranch” Chardonnay, with both a familiar label and taste, it made it worth a better look just to remember where our paths crossed before.  Yep, their 2009 vintage of similarly labeled “Morning Fog” was released last year and got the same attention from those who enjoyed its pleasant bouquet and versatile pairing characteristics.  But the Riva Ranch (one of Wente’s Heritage Block selections from the Arroyo Seco AVA) is definitely a step up.

Like their Morning Fog, Riva Ranch has a ripe apple bouquet but it also contains vanilla, floral and mellow oak in the mix.  The body adds toast, tropical fruit with a much more refined (obviously fussed over by the winemaker) acid balance than the Morning Fog.  So this is a welcome continuation in excellence for Wente Chardonnays.  It’s nice to see one that’s an affordable addition to the cellar again this year.

This time around, Wente’s 2010 Riva Ranch Chardonnay paired quite well with a simple platter of crab cakes, rice and broccoli.  It complimented the lightly browned cakes perfectly.  What a great summer partner for light seafood or poultry dishes that don’t need any interference from a big wine!

As a bonus, you can pick up the Riva Ranch Chard for the same price ($14.99) at Total Wine as the Morning Fog cost at Fry’s last year; plus Total Wine still has some of the 2009 Morning Fog still available for under $10.  You should be able to find these puppies right through the summer.

Serve after 40 minutes in the fridge (50-60 degrees).  Once again, it’s smooth on the palate, and is fine to drink closer to room temperature.

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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