Sips 10.10.19

Did they or didn’t they? You know they did, but somehow the 2017 “Riverview Vineyard” Chardonnay from Metz Road throws you off.

There’s a richness that tells you oak barrels were involved. Yet brisk fruits prevail, from the ripe pear and yellow apple on the nose to the bite of freshly cut and aromatic citrus zest – like a summery, stainless steel preparation. And there’s none of the heavy, buttery weight of a big California Chardonnay.

So what gives? Winemaker Casey DiCesare aged the wine in French oak – mostly new wood – for 14 long months, fermenting at cool temperatures with wild yeast and maturing it on its lees. The result is a clever balance, with bright apple and pear developing dense, concentrated flavors akin to stewed fruit. There’s an impression of cured pineapple, an earthy spice, a trace of vanilla and a musty finish with hints of wet stone. A waft of salinity gives it a lean edge.

In other words, it gives you the fresh, breezy fruits of stainless as well as the layers of a contemplative oaked wine – the best of both styles.

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