Clos La Chance Glittering-Throated Emerald Unoaked Chardonnay 2005
This excellent $12-15 Monterrey County Chardonnay comes proudly unoaked and hence,
unsurprisingly, it yields a great deal of stimulating fruit, and lets some pleasant minerality
shine through. The wine doesn't need the oak. It starts with a pleasant spritz that well
complements the steady acidity of the fruit, and you keep finding fruit: melon, peach and
grapefruit on the nose, lime, peach, and apricot on the palate, with a nice finish of sustained
tropical fruits like kiwi, banana and mango.
This is a great break from the buttery over-oaked Chardonnays we are used to from
California, and it also doesn't fall prey to the excess residual sugar ploy used by so many
producers of taste-alike Chardonnays to fob off what is essentially soda pop on the American
populace. At the same time, the wine is hardly restrained—it's a lot of fun with a great deal of
honest fruit—and hence it has “California” written all over it, but in the best way: as an
expression of the land, the soil and the sun.
Verdict: An Impressive Effort
What the French call “terroir” I like to call “place,” since I think the English language is up to any task. Either way, California has got it, but it doesn't always use it.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman