Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wines I'm Drinking: 2003 Beni di Batasiolo "Vigneto Morino" Langhe Chardonnay

Recently I found this Chardonnay from Italy's Langhe region in the Piedmont area (the area that produces Barolo and Barbaresco and one of my favorite white wines, Roero Arneis) at my local Grocery Outlet in Santa Rosa. I'm always a little skeptical about older white wines at Grocery Outlet. Sometimes they're being cleared out at low prices because they're over the hill--flat or even oxidized--but, happily, that's not usually the case. More often, they're being cleared out simply because they didn't sell well. That can be attributable to a number of things, but usually one of two: Either the wines are from unfamiliar grapes, makers, or wine regions that buyers in the US are unsure of and not adventurous enough to try, or the wine has a flavor profile that just doesn't appeal to many people here--which is not necessarily a fault in the wine. In either case, I'm happy to benefit from good wines being let go at low prices.

Right on the edge. I'll be up-front: This wine from 2003 seems a little tired (it's likely to have been best within about four years rather than at eight years old). That said, it's by no means unattractive for immediate consumption, and it's a bargain at $3.99 a bottle ($3.59 a bottle if you buy a case). Searching the Internet, I found a wide range of prices for recent vintages--from $9 a bottle to $25 a bottle. Tasting notes follow. 

A medium yellow-gold, with an interesting nose suggestive of melons and wood, but without typical oak scents. The nose was rather hard to define, actually. It was not especially forthcoming, but attractive nevertheless. Something reminded me of fresh, raw vegetables, and white wines from this area often have a sappy sort of scent. Later, after a little air contact, I began to get suggestions of honey and chestnuts and then butterscotch. The wine has some presence on the palate. Nice fruity sweetness on the mid-palate and perhaps a hint of oxidation (sherry-like flavors) on the finish, but not at all unpleasant. Creamy, rich mouthfeel. Honey flavors. Tasty, but low in acidity, which is mainly what makes it seem to lack freshness. Still, not a bad wine at this price. Probably a wine worth looking for in younger vintages. If you buy the 2003, don't sit on it. Enjoy it immediately.

[Update: I subsequently tasted another Langhe Chardonnay from the same producer, the 2005 "Serbato" bottling.]

I have no financial connection with any producer or retailer of wine.
For more wine reviews, use the Wines I'm Drinking label.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails