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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2005

A friend of mine loves big, oak-bomb Chardonnays, but she doesn't have a high regard for Kendall-Jackson, to put it mildly. To quote, "It's on the same level as Sutter Home -- YUK!"

I know what she means, because I've had some K-J wines that I thought were, oh ... uninspired, to be generous. But Trinchero (which owns Sutter Home) makes some good wines, and so does K-J.

In my experience, what K-J does best is Chards. They're almost as consistent as Coca-Cola in maintaining their character and flavor from year to year, and they do it by blending grapes from different appelations to achieve the results they're after.

And K-J understands what it is about Chardonnay that trips people's triggers. Someone once wrote that "vanilla is like catnip for humans," and vanilla is what K-J uses plenty of oak for to deliver. Their winemaker surely uses malolactic fermentation too, to achieve the creamy mouthfeel that the Grand Reserve has.

At $19 per bottle, the K-J Grand Reserve competes with wines that cost half again as much. And if I poured it into a Flora Springs bottle, I'll bet my friend would love it....
M. Zane Grey, 8:50 PM