Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:South Coast Winery 2005 Chardonnay Sans Chene  (Temecula Valley)

South Coast Winery

2005 Chardonnay Sans Chene
(Temecula Valley)

Back in the 60s, bra-burning was all the rage. I have to admit I was too young and to under-endowed to make this a meaningful form of protest. So, I’ve always supported my liberated sisters without really understanding what the big deal was. Then along came all the breast augmentation paraphernalia and procedures, followed by the era of severely padded bras. Not long after, Madonna began making underwear a front page fashion statement, complete with rather dangerous-looking hardware (think armored breastplates). Right after that trend, over-oaked, fat and buttery Chardonnay began to infiltrate the wine scene. It was like Chardonnay wearing wooden corsets. Then people began backing off the oak bus and things seemed to be reaching some level of sanity. But a trend becomes boring as soon as it stops being a trend.

We’re in a new one now: the latest trend – perhaps backlash is a better word – of “unoaked” Chardonnay. There are even categories for it at some of the wine competitions I’ve been judging lately. I have to admit I was skeptical about this concept, as I’ve tried some unoaked wines that really suffered, but in this case, the fruit is so big and ripe, it doesn’t really miss the oak. In other words, it’s well-endowed enough that it doesn’t need the supporting understructure. Think of it as bra-less Chardonnay in a spandex t-shirt.

The tropical, floral aromas and flavors are nicely counter-pointed by the acidity, which makes this a really decent food wine. Surprisingly, it was quite good with roasted pork and cranberry-chile sauce: something I would normally pair with Pinot. But this wine holds its own, with no cloying oak to get in the way. You wouldn’t choose this as a cocktail sipper – it really works so well with food it would be a shame not to bring it on. This wine would be aces with grilled chicken and pineapple soaked in rum. So, as they saw on their web site, save the wood for the barbeque and let loose the fruit!

(Alc: 13.3%, Retail: $15)

Reviewed January 16, 2007 by Laura Ness.

The Wine

Winery: South Coast Winery
Vintage: 2005
Wine: Chardonnay Sans Chene
Appellation: Temecula Valley
Grape: Chardonnay
Price: 750ml $15.00

Review Date: 1/16/2007

The Reviewer

Laura Ness

A wine writer and wine judge for major publications and competitions around the country, Laura Ness likens wine to the experience of music. She is always looking for that ubiquitous marriage of rhythm, melody, and flawless execution. What is good music? You know it when you get lost in it. What is good wine? It is music in your mouth.