Back in January at the Sun Wine Fest I tasted many excellent wines. Several of the standout wineries of the weekend were from areas in California that aren't always on the tip of peoples tongues when they think of picking up a bottle. In this case, the winery is Brutocao Cellars and the area is Mendocino County. Often times wines from these areas provide better values than the better known regions. During this week I'll post my impressions of six releases from Brutocao Cellars. In addition to that I'll touch on some other aspects of what Brutocao Cellars is all about. 425 cases of the 2005 Chardonnay Riserva d' Argento were produced. It was barrel fermented in French Oak. The retail price is $25.
Tropical fruit, vanilla spice and an undercurrent of green apple are all present in the nose of this 2005 Chardonnay. The first sip reveals creme brulee notes that are underpinned by toasty oak that is ever-present but does not detract from the fruit. The mod-palate is rich, creamy and opulent. The Risvera d' Argento's finish is long and lingering. Spice notes dance on the tongue along with some mineral notes at the wine comes to a close.
My taste in Chardonnay runs towards those made in a Chablis style. I'm happy to say that this release from Brutocao Cellars reminds me more of the wines of Chablis than it does typical California Chardonnay. The Brutocao 2005 Riserva d' Argento Chardonnay does have plenty of oak on it. But it's used in a restrained manner that enhances the fruit rather than overwhelming it. As such it's a wine that's made to serve with food. Oven roasted chicken would be a perfect accompaniment.
While there are many Chardonnays you could buy in the $25 price-range, I have only found a handful that offer the sort of complexity this one does in that price bracket. That makes this a wine that is well worth it's retail price. I'd bet it has a couple more years of enjoyable drinking ahead of it.
Up Next: Brutocao Cellars Zinfandel
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