Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Dousing popcorn with butter or dropping a healthy nob on a stack of pancakes makes perfect sense. So does buttering up Hawaiian Tropic models before a photo shoot. Having your white wine taste purely of butter, however, borders on criminality. Whenever I uncork a Chardonnay, I tread carefully, hoping that first sip does not feel like jumping headfirst, mouth open into a ghee-cuzzi. Many consumers, particularly in the US, like their Chards full-bodied and rich, the fruit itself obscured by the wine's buttery unctuousness and notes of oak. Thanks to my father, though, I am a man who's learned to appreciate balance in life so I best enjoy Chardonnays that incorporate a range of flavor profiles from tropical fruits to nuttiness to spice to, yes, a minute hint of butter. Case in point, the magnificent 2006 Louis Latour Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru I merrily guzzled at Vinocultura.

What's wonderful about Chardonnay is its versatility. Throughout the globe, winemakers can play mad scientist with this noble variety and come up with wines that cater to all tastes and senses. According to Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson's "The Concise World Atlas of Wine,"  Chardonnay "routinely takes on whatever character the winemaker desires: vivacious and sparkling, refreshingly unoaked, rich and buttery, or even sweet." With this in mind, here are some brief notes on three acclaimed Chardonnays (Made on The Rock™) I recently sampled and enjoyed. Butter up!

2010 Sodap Stroumbeli Chardonnay - Good waxy bouquet marked by mangoes and pears and a touch of butter. Full bodied and fatty (in a good way) and with nice hints of papaya and other tropical fruits. This wine received a Silver Medal at the 2011 Chardonnay du Monde competition in France. 88/100.

2010 Kyperounda Chardonnay - Aromas of honey, white flowers, pears and bitter orange. Sleek, medium bodied with notes of white pears and red apples. Very good. 87/100.

2009 Domaine Hadjiantonas Chardonnay - Pineapple and citrus fruits on the nose. To the palate, citrus-like fruits such as grapefruit and pomelo and a touch of butter. Probably the leanest of the bunch. 87/100.

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