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Friday, August 10, 2007

Sebastiani Chardonnay 2005

Sebastiani's Chards can usually be summed up in two words: oak bomb.

But not always. The 2005 growing season was long and cool, and the Sebastiani Sonoma County Chardonnay 2005 turned out better because of it. Since the fruit wasn't as intense as it is in a normal, hotter year, winemaker Mark Lyon dialed back on the oak and malolactic fermentation, and the result is a medium-bodied, mouthfilling and refreshing wine. A citrusy nose leads to apple and pear on the palate, and the finish closes with minerals and clean acids. Vanilla from the oak is well-integrated.

The suggested retail for this wine is $12, but if you shop around a little you should be able to find it for a couple of dollars less. At either price it's a great value, as it compares favorably with some wines that cost twice as much. (In fact, I know someone who exchanged a bottle of a $22 Chardonnay that he likes for two of the Sebastianis.)

This is an excellent hot-weather wine, with just enough oak and malo to remind you what it is you like about California Chards without the feeling of having had Smucker's butterscotch topping ladled onto your tongue. It's a cocktail wine that is well-mannered enough that it can stay for dinner, particularly if you're having grilled chicken or lobster.
M. Zane Grey, 8:44 AM