Solaire by Robert Mondavi - 2007 Chardonnay

solOver the many years since Robert Mondavi founded his groundbreaking Napa Valley Winery he acquired numerous other properties. These ranged in size, intent and vision. In the 90' that included purchasing prime parcels in the Central Coast of California. Among the results of this investment in the Central Coast are the Solaire Wines. I'll look at their Chardonnay today. I love this grape when it's well made and it leaves me cold, to say the least, when it's poorly made and/or over oaked. The 2007 Solaire by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay is 100% varietal. The fruit is from Santa Lucia Highlands. The wine was aged for 8 months in a combination of both used and new French and American oak. Alcohol is a modest 13.5% and the suggested retail price for this offering is $15.

Apple aromas, underscored by some lighter tropical notes such as pineapple fill the nose of this Chardonnay. A touch of vanilla wafts in gently as you take the first sip. More pineapple, lemon zest and a touch of grapefruit ride through the juicy palate. White pepper, apple pie crust spices and a touch of creaminess make up the finish. This wine is well balanced with generous acidity. While it drinks OK on its own, it'll work best with white meats or dishes that feature cream based sauces.

There is no question, what I like best about this Chardonnay from Solaire by Robert Mondavi is that it's varietally correct. The Chardonnay fruit shines through, enhanced, not encumbered by the oak treatment. Though it retails for $15, checking wine-searcher shows it's often available for closer to $11. In that price category this Chardonnay offers value.

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