Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay scores well with critics

September 23, 2013

A correction, provided by Paul Gregutt, No. 42 on the top 100 American wine information people list and NW editor of Wine Experience Magazine, emailed to inform I had located Chateau Ste. Michelle in Oregon. Sorry, Greg and readers. Chateau Ste. Michelle is headquartered in Woodinville, Wash. Sometimers at work. Regulars know this winery is a longtime favorite of mine and an all-round high performer.

If you enjoy Malbec you might wish to locate some Finca Vides Torcidas Malbec 2011. Dark Bordeaux colored, with some violet tones, it opens to violets, plums, vanilla and spice aromas. Juicy on the palate, red fruit, vanilla and violet flavors ride firm tannins, balanced acidity and some oak. A lot of wine when priced under $12; 90 points.

Steve Matthiasson is a well-known consultant in Napa. He and his family own a small spread in the West Oak Knoll section of Napa named Linda Vista Vineyard. His wife’s name, by the way, is Jill. Their 2012 Chardonnay is 100 percent sourced from Oak Knoll grapes grown using sustainable farming practices. Lemon, vanilla, spices and juicy peaches all flesh out in the glass.

A creamy, expressive finish rounds things out in style. Their chardonnay is one of the very best noninterventionist style. Au naturel using naturally occurring yeast and going through malolactic fermentation before steel and neutral oak cooperage. The fermentation was halted to keep the alcohol levels down. These protocols provide a lean, crisp, mineral wine reminiscent of French Burgundy but with no discernable oak. An elegant wine with lovely peach, apple and Meyer lemon flavors. Buy under $25; 91 points.

Big buck buyers will be able to find the 2010 Marchesi Antinori Solaia Toscana IGT on sale at $200. Touted by Galloni (97) as “One of if not the single greatest Solaia ever made.” Suckling (98 in WS) confirmed this opinion, and Wine Advocate (97) exclaimed, “A gorgeous wine.” I say avoid for now.

These Super Tuscans’ prices tend to surge on hype, then decline. They gradually increase as they approach maturity. If you are a consumer take a look at the 2006, rated by Suckling 97, Tanzer 96, WE 96. Buyable for $200 and will be ready next year. The 2001, rated 95 by most and priced in the $230 range are perfect now. Only buy from reputable people; improper storage is problematic.

Chardonnay fans will be delighted if they buy Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay 2011. Anthony Galloni directed me to it at 88 points, and Dunnuck writing in WA gave a generous 91. Buy under $13. Foxglove is stainless steel fermented and saw no oak or malolactic. Crisp acidity and clean. Plenty of apple, citrus and vanilla with some pineapple all wrapped up in a rich, focused, balanced wine. I enjoyed the creamy, clean finish.

Are you ready for Octoberfest? Most of my chef training came at the hands and boots of “Chermin” chefs. They would be appalled at the current crop of wine and food writers recommending red wine with bratwurst, hasenpfeffer, rippchen mit meerettichsauce and Konigsberger klopse. Naturlich, these same miscreants translate Konigsberger klopse as royal meatballs. Any good “Dutchman” is well aware there is nothing royal about meatballs in caper sauce, an East German poor peoples’ staple that employs butcher shop floor scrapings as its main ingredient.

For those who are interested, Germany’s red wine is mostly Spatburgunder. We know it as Red Burgundy producer Pinot Noir. One of the better known is Robert Konig’s Assmannshauser Hollenberg Spatburgunder Spätlese Trocken, a dry, medium alcohol, juicy wine with firm tannins and a real sense of terroir. You can buy these priced around $30. Be careful, though, because cool weather PNs are quite a bit more acidic than those with which most are familiar. If I were going to the trouble of learning to pronounce those German names, I would start with the white wines. More on those next week.