Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A tale of two whites: $100 Cali Chard vs. a $7 WA White

I didn't set out with the intention of comparing these two whites but circumstances seemed to warrant it as I drank them on successive nights. First piece of advice when it's 100 degrees out and the only white wine you have at home is a $100 Cali chard...don't drink it. Second piece of advice is that a $7 white can certainly be better than a $100 white. I can't tell you how excited I was to drink my first Aubert Chardonnay. Unfortunately, that feeling lasted all of about 5 minutes. Conversely, I can't tell you how unenthused I was to drink a Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling that ended up to be refreshing and tasty. On to the notes...

2006 Aubert Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay
I don't know where to begin. The level of excitement for me to try this wine was certainly a 10. I have been looking forward to it for quite some time as Aubert Chardonnay gets lots of love on the board. I opened the bottle and poured myself a glass in my Riedel Chardonnay Extreme (love these glasses by the way). Upon my first whiff, I was deflated to realize this was going to be the quintessential Cali Chard. Oak, butter, popcorn. Mother*****a! It might have been a bit warm so I was going to give it the benefit of the doubt. I threw it into the fridge for 15 minutes and gave it another whirl. A bit better as some apple, pear, and acid showed up. Disappointingly, there was still way too much oak and it was flabby in a Monica Lewinsky kind of way and I actually swallowed. Oaky, buttery, and hot on the finish left me with the taste of wood in my mouth for an hour after I finished the bottle (trying to give it the benefit of the doubt). New World Chard just may not be my thing...pass me a bottle of Chablis. 75pts.

2007 Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling
I drank this the next night and was pleasantly surprised. I think Roy Hersch mentioned this wine awhile ago and I have to concur that it is the best $7 white I've had. I was scared to drink what CSM may call a dry riesling but it actually was fairly dry. Initial nose of petrol, guava, and ripe pear. The absence of oak was such a relief after my experience the previous night. This wine was crisp and clean with no caffeine. Not quite as dry on the palate as I like in a riesling but no complaints as it was acidic and minerally driven. It actually enlivened the palate as the Aubert killed the palate. A mouth puckering finish left me wondering why we spend so much on trophy wine when blue collar wine can be just as good if not better. 88 pts.


  1. I first had the Chateau St Michelle in a blind tasting. This one beat the other rieslings hands down. I think everyone but two out of the 25 people there chose this as their favorite, especially for pairing. This has become one of my "go-to" wines for its fantastic price and versatility.

  2. Bean,
    I'm not surprised at how many tasters favored it. For the price, I can't imagine a better wine. It is certainly going to become my go to weeknight white! Cheers...