Foley Rancho Santa Rosa Chardonnay 2009 simply unctuous

June 18, 2012

Melissa Alesi is a songbird worth hearing. Barbara and I caught her at Big Chill last Saturday. She plays a very passable guitar and has huge, melodious pipes and can lay it down excellently. You can also catch Melissa at the Starboard on Monday, Sea Colony Marketplace Tuesday and Irish Eyes from time to time. Hope she catches on around here. Pleasing, easy listening, but can knock it out when the audience calls for it.

I recommend catching Melissa at Big Chill so you can enjoy the excellent Mexican fare. We tried a nacho platter and a taco. Both were generous, good value and delicious. A longtime friend, Matt Martin, is the manager in charge. He has assembled a prompt, courteous, friendly staff to man the trendy, clean environment.

Although the place initially looks like the cast of Beach Blanket Bingo hangs there, it is geared toward the beach sophisticate crowd. Hip, good music, great food and service, representative beer and beach cooler drink list and a great outdoorsy beach atmosphere. We’ll be back! I was having so much fun I forgot to ask about wine. Mexican always calls for Carta Blanca or Modelo (Mexican Bud) for me; Barbara likes draft. 16 Mile filled the bill.

Robert Mondavi Oakville Cab 2009 got a 94 from WE. It is on sale at $41 when you buy six or more. Sourced from To Kalon vineyards, "dry, smooth and distinguished,” says WE. Ripe blackberries and currants give way to earthy, herbal notes and mocha. Well-crafted, balanced structure, long, clean finish. Buy this now before WS reviews it. They are notorious Mondaviphiles and a huge score will drive prices to $75 or higher.

Wedding planners who want a better sparkler that won’t break the bank, ask about Scharffenberger Brut Excellence; 92 points with one price point, McD.  A full-bodied Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend put through malolactic fermentation, it shows apple and honey aromas and flavors. Finishes fruity with caramel and vanilla. Priced at market $15/bottle when buying a case.

As a barometer, one case should yield eight three-ounce pours and nine two-and-three-quarters-ounce. There’s always a little spillage.  Keep in mind that many champagne toasts fail because the wine is not cold; it is prepoured and flat. If you wish a toast, pour the wine, clink glasses and utter a short Happy Days, then drink it. Afterward, start the tedious conversation or brilliant repartee, depending on the speechifiers.

Allen Meadows of Burghound raised his rating on William Fevre Grand Cru Chablis Les Clos 2007. Regulars know I love Les Clos. I had beaten him to the punch saying it was underrated last fall. In his most recent review,  Meadows compared the 2007 now to the vaunted 2002. Try to buy under $75. Remember Chablis improves with age. Les Clos 2007 is just entering its window and will keep at least through 2017.

Cheap 92-point chard?  I prefer to name it a great value. Foley Rancho Santa Rosa Chardonnay  2009 was rated 92 by Suckling writing in WS.  At $20/bottle, I had to give it a try for you folks. So I forced some down. Happy I did!

Foley produced a food-friendly chardonnay that enhances a grilled or broiled fish. Green-tinged, golden colored, opens to apple, toasted oak and honey notes.

This is an unctuous chardonnay. The mid palate has additional green apple underscored with a crushed stone mineral balance. The finish has more vanilla cleaned up by acidity. A well-crafted, old-style Chardonnay.

The 2009 big-name Bordeaux are coming off in price. Don’t get sucked in. Hold your fire! Keep in mind, if you are a drinker and not a shower, you almost can’t go wrong on 2009 Bordeaux.  For example, Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou St. Julien 2009, 95-99 points, is being offered at $320/bottle down from $420. Chateau Gloria St. Julien 2009, 93-95 points, is at $50 down from $65.

I defy anyone out there to drink them side by side and pick the better. They are different, though. Do you think the Ducru’s price may reflect RP rating it 100 points? Most big-name 2009s will come down some more. Gloria is a good buy at $550/case.

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