May 16, 2008

Chateau Saint Jean "Belle Terre" Chardonnay

Chardonnay / Sonoma
2005 / 92 points

Chateau Saint Jean has been represented in my cellar for many years. Their Proprietary "Cinq Cepage", is a wonderful Bordeaux blend that consistently gets great scores from most reviewers. I never had the opportunity to try their Chardonnay until I opened a bottle with a friend last week. What a wonderful surprise.

When reviewing Chardonnay in the $20-$25 range, I often have my expectations set on the low side. Much of the chardonnay in this price range is mundane. The grapes used for Chardonnay at this price point are not of the highest quality. Why should they be? The top grapes can be sold or used for wines that are two or three times the money. For $25, I would rather find a bottle of Savignon Blanc or Viognier of excellent quality then suffer through a mediocre chardonnay.

The 2005 Belle Terre Chardonnay delivered a lot of quality for the price. As a reviewer, I should not make assumptions before tasting. This wine reinforced the fact and taught me a valuable lesson.

The wine is light honey colored, with a tinge of green. It is medium to full bodied for a white. The wine clung tenaciously to the glass when swirled. Honeysuckle, Peach, Nectarine and Lemon were prevalent in the nose. Peaches and nectarine are abundant up front, with a nice hint of oak towards the finish. Not overdone, the little bit of oak will please even those who like an "unoaked" chardonnay. The wine is rich and full in the mouth with fabulous length. The finish goes on and on.....fabulous!

This wine was released last year at $25, and can still be found on the winery website at this price. For those of you that are comfortable with internet purchase, it can be found at the Wine Exchange, for $17.99 per bottle. This quality chardonnay is a steal at this price. Back up the truck, and buy a few cases. You can thank me later....get your credit card and buy a case before it is gone.

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