It seems that nearly every grape of any note has its own day. That being the case, Chardonnay, the most widely planted grape on earth likely deserves an entire week. But as of this writing it gets today, the Thursday before Memorial Day as its very own, well sort of. Today also happens to be National Wine Day, which confuses me; isn’t that every day? But I digress aren’t we’re gathered here to talk about Chardonnay? Indeed we are. The sheer number of Chardonnays that cross my line of sight regularly is pretty dizzying. They come in all shapes and sizes, as well as from nearly every region that grows grapes. When in doubt, someone will plant some more Chardonnay. There’s mostly good reason for it, Chardonnay can be awesome. But then sometimes (too often) it’s really terrible. If you need examples I could list a bunch, many of them in the famed (really infamous actually) style known as California Chardonnay. They’re easy to identify when you drink them and then you'll need to spit sawdust out after swallowing the wine. However California has a lot of great Chardonnay too and for the most part people are talking about it. Less people though are talking about the terrific Chardonnays coming out of the Pacific Northwest. Both Washington and Oregon are producing some fantastic examples. So here in celebration of both Chardonnay Day and National Wine Day are some thoughts on a lovely Washington State wine.
Buty Winery 2014 Conner Lee Vineyard Chardonnay ($42)
The fruit for this wine came from two blocks located within the Conner Lee Vineyard. Each is planted to different clones of Chardonnay. The vineyard itself is located in Eastern Central Washington. Citrus rind, spice and a hint of vanilla provide complex and welcoming aromatics. The palate is stuffed with Bartlett pear, Granny Smith Apple and wisps of spice. The long finish is loaded with white pepper, papaya and an abundance of wet limestone notes. What stands out the most about this Chardonnay is the mouth-feel. There’s a wonderful texture and weight here that’s both impressive and quite appealing. Ditto for the racy acid that lends to the moutwatering nature of this offering. Once you sip it, you’re not going to want to put it down.
You could celebrate Chardonnay Day with a Burgundy, California Chardonnay or one from, literally, countless other regions. Don’t do that this year; reach for some Washington State Chardonnay. You’ll be glad you did; this offering from Buty Winery is delicious and noteworthy in its complexity and purity.