On its own, sans oak, chardonnay doesn’t typically offer much in the way of aromatics. A little apple. Maybe some lemon, but that’s it. Why do you think winemakers the world over use (and over-use) oak barrels in chardonnay production?
There are techniques that winemakers can use to enhance the aromatics of course — different yeast strains, different fermentation temperatures and varying levels of oxygen during fermentation. Some still end being rather neutral.
This wine, Macari Vineyards 2007 Estate Chardonnay ($19 at the winery) isn’t one of those wines.
Pale straw colored with a faint greenish tinge, the nose brings Granny Smith apple, lemon-lime, minerals and an almost-sauvignon blanc-like grassy-herbal note.
Medium bodied and fresh, there’s more citrus and green apple here with plenty of acidity and a reasonably long, lemon and wet stone finish. This is a wine best enjoyed on a hot summer day, or with light seafood preparations.
Not everyone is willing to pay $19 for a stainless steel chardonnay, but this is a great example of how good they can be.