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.
Bud break in Walla Walla Valley
1 week ago