Wanted: BIG Buttery, velvetty Chard
I am looking for a BIG buttery chardonnay; no stainless, definitley maloactic fermentation. Reminds you of carmel corn when you drink it. We have enjoyed the Chateau St Jean "Belle Terre" and Simi "Alexander Valley" Chards, but I am looking for some other options.
Not a fan of Rombauer, seemed very sweet to me.
Any and all opinions are appreciated.
This has been discussed ad nauseam. I'm curious if the "sweet" sensation you are tasting is a sensation of lots of fruit? If so Sonoma Cutrer also makes buttery chardonnays without too many tropical fruit/stone fruit notes.
Also try Alpha Omega in Napa (if they haven't sold out). Also the Kendall Jackson line of Chardonnays should fit the bill for a cheaper option.
Thanks for the reply. We have tried both the KJ and Sonoma Cutrer, we were not very impressed with either. I have tried the AO reds, but not their whites.
I do think that some of the sweet is from fruit, but also was thinking that some of that flavor may be coming from higher alcohol whites?
The sweet sensation is almost surely residual sugar (RS). Most big buttery chardonnays are made in this style, about 2% RS. Look for Chardonnays without it.
Contributing to the perception of sweetness (though not actually sweet) is ripe or overripe fruit,
with fruit flavors like apple pie filling, canned pineapple, pineapple upside down cake, etc.
O Wines Chardonnay from Horse Heaven HIlls in WA is good buttery and full bodied chardonnay. Not quite in the same league but it's probably one of the better ones in the $10 ranges... at least it's that range at WA state Costco locations.
I really like the Hafner Reserve Alexander Valley Chardonnay, but it might be hard to find, depending on where you live.
Two other favorites of mine are the Staglin Chardonnay, and the Shafer Red Shoulders Ranch, but depending on your price-points, they might not be viable.
Thanks for all the rec's and advice on this question. I would like to keep the price below $25 a bottle. I am making a list from the responses to see what is available in my area (middle TN).
It's a 5 dollar bill over your target, but see if you can find Miner Family Napa Chardonnay. It has a very rich component that I've likened to caramel, but without the overt sweetness.