Baileyana Winery2005 Chardonnay Grand Cuvee, Firepeak Vineyard
Baileyana winemaker Christian Roguenant grew up in Burgundy and received his enology degree from the University of Dijon. The wines he makes at Baileyana are unmistakably Californian, but they also reflect an old world sensibility and elegance. The Baileyana wines designated “Grand Firepeak Cuvée” are the winery’s reserve tier, made from grapes grown in the Firepeak Vineyard next to the winery.
For this $30 Chardonnay, Roguenant barrel-ferments the wine in French oak, most of it 1-year-old or older. The wine stays on the lees for six months in barrel, then another six months in tank. Roguenant thinks this extended lees contact makes malolactic fermentation almost unnecessary, so only 5 percent of the wine goes through ML. The result is a Chardonnay that’s rich and creamy but still very fresh and racy, with lemon and green apple flavors, accented by a bit of mineral. It’s a persistent wine, with a long finish and a smooth texture. This Chardonnay would pair well with almost any type of seafood, from chilled oysters on the half shell to shrimp scampi to pan-seared salmon.
Reviewed July 10, 2007 by Laurie Daniel.
Laurie Daniel, wine columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, has been reviewing wine for more than 10 years. She doesn’t use numbers, preferring to describe her recommended wines and let consumers decide for themselves. Laurie believes that bigger isn’t necessarily better; she’s partial to wines of balance, finesse and character. Her particular interests are Pinot Noir (versions that really taste like Pinot, that is) and aromatic whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.