Distilled Sunlight’s Wine of the Month
Each month Distilled Sunlight brings you our pick for Wine of the Month for your tasting pleasure. We try to stay within a $7.00 – $40.00 (USD) range on most of our choices. Your local wine retailers prices may vary. Grab a bottle and give it a try then tell us what you think about it in the comments below.
Sea Level Homeblock 2012
In popular culture Chardonnay is most commonly portrayed as the drink of choice for women over the age of 40, as it is pretty much inoffensive and because Desperate Housewives is inexplicably so popular. I prefer the description my friend once gave me for Chardonnay. He said “Chardonnay is the prostitute of the wine world. You can do anything you like to it.” I prefer this description as it shows the versatility of Chardonnay and proves it can be more than a desperate housewife’s crutch.
The Chardonnay variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced. Depending on where the fruit is grown the flavors run a long spectrum. From the lean, crisply mineral wines of Chablis, France, to New World wines with oak, and tropical fruit flavors. Based on DNA fingerprinting done by UC Davis it is suggested that Chardonnay is the result of a cross between the Pinot noir and Gouais Blanc (Heunisch) grape varieties. The Romans are thought to have brought Gouais blanc from Croatia, and it was widely cultivated by peasants in eastern France.
Although New Zealand is most well known for their Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay was originally the most widely planted variety and there has been a recent resurgence in it. Most winemakers in New Zealand play on Chardonnay’s affinity to oak and Sea Level Homeblock 2012 Chardonnay is no exception to this. Matured in oak barrels for 10 months before bottling gives the wine a light gold color of melted butter in the glass. This is complemented by aromas of fresh apple and butter. On the palate, the taste of oak, butter, and peach blend harmoniously to create a well-balanced wine with a silky mouthfeel. A hint of bitterness with the acidity on the back of the palate prevents the wine from being too sweet and gives it a crisp finish.