2005 Domaine Alfred Chamisal Vineyard Califa Chardonnay

Surprisingly – well, at least for me, because when I see California chardonnay, I usually expect butterscotch popcorn – this wine is one of the nuttier Chardonnays I’ve ever smelled. There’s also kind of an unusual, almost maderized effect here, something lees-y, that’s surprising as well. Overall, the effect is of something like a rich, honeyed Burgundy that is tellingly Californian only in that the acidity is a bit lacking on the finish. The closest thing I can compare this to would be Screaming Yellow Zonkers that fell into a dish of Ethiopian honey wine: it’s almost salty, there’s a rich yellowness that’s reminiscent of sweet popcorn, and the lush fatness of it all is fairly appealing as well. That being said, it really does veer a bit too much towards circus peanuts for me, and on the whole it is a touch disappointing. For this money, though, it’s good enough value – most wines at this price point don’t have anywhere near the character this wine does.

This is probably a great selection for any American fan of hugely alcoholic international style wines: it may not have a lot of typicité, but it is huge and every bit as enjoyable as Angelyne.

Domaine Alfred
Price: US $12.50
Closure: Stelvin
Date tasted: October 2008