1999 Sierra Vista Chardonnay Unoaked (El Dorado)

History: Back when winemaker Michelle MacCready (of Sierra Vista Winery) was working for me, we chatted about how nice it would be if there were decent unoaked non-malo’d chardonnays available. It struck me that the market for such an item is limited, but a small producer could easily find a niche. She liked the idea, but felt that it would be too hard to sell.

Fast forward: Michelle spends a summer in Oz, tastes quite a few unoaked chards, is told by many winemakers that there’s no export market for it, but that they sell like crazy to their more sophisticated customers.

Fast forward again: Michelle comes back to California and decides (with her dad, John) to make a few hundred cases as an experiment. John takes a few with him on sales trips and finds that they take zero effort to sell, being such an unusual item.

Final fast forward: I get a taste and immediately buy case lots.

Official Tasting Note: 1999 Sierra Vista Chardonnay Unoaked (El Dorado): Steely green apple, vibrant acidity, lowish alcohol (12.5%), mineral flavors, great cut and finish. Squeaky clean. Perfect food wine, went great with Lou Perac Perail cheese. I would assume that it would make a great Chablis stand-in, but I’m not a fish eater so someone will have to confirm. $10 full-boat retail, about $8-9 street price.

Official Ratings: Figure 78 points from Parker. Figure 76 points from Spectator. I give it a Larry Curly.

SY (5/00)