Chardonnay is the most-planted variety on Long Island. Just about every winery makes it at least one bottling, and many have several.
Just because it’s the most planted, however, doesn’t mean it’s what the region does best. In fact, in general, I think there is a lot of bad Chardonnay made here (but that’s true of many other regions too, right?)
If you’ve been reading LENNDEVOURS long, you’ve probably seen me use "Long Island-style Chardonnay" to describe some of the better ones. They aren’t quite as crisp or minerally as the best white Burgundies, but they aren’t flabby, buttered-oak California wines either.
Martha Clara Vineyards 2003 Chardonnay, doesn’t quite fall into my definition of Long Island-style Chardonnay…but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And, this isn’t necessarily a bad wine at all either.
Eyes: This wine is golden in the glass, but not nearly as deeply colored as you might expect if you drink a lot of California Chardonnay. Based purely on visual appearance, I wondered if this was a steel-fermented. It’s actually 70% steel fermented and 30% French oak fermented.
Nose: Here’se where the oak’s toastiness and vanilla make their first appearance. In fact, I didn’t get much fruit at all on the nose at first. The wine was way too cold. As it warmed, more citrus fruit joined the toasted marshmallow aromas.
Tongue: Again, it was too told at first and it tasted a bit flat. But, as it warmed, this medium-bodied white showed some nice citrus-tinged apple and some sweet oak/vanilla. It had some freshness to it, but not enough acidity for my palate. The finish was a bit short as well.
Overall: Much like their 2003 Gewurtraminer, this is a nice wine, but for the price, you can probably do better, even on Long Island — but I’d not turn it down at a party. I’m betting that this wine is pretty popular with less-nerdy wine drinkers though.
Nena’s Grade: B-
Lenn’s Grade: C/C+