We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
Chardonnay has long been a well respected and highly produced grape and wine. Born in Burgundy and having grown up across the globe, it is one of the most loved and hated grape varieties in existence. The days of popcorn butter mouthfeel are far from extinct, but more and more winemakers in the New World are seeking to produce Chardonnay wines that are oaky, yet complex and not overly, well, buttered. When we start talking about Texas wine, Chardonnay is not the first grape that comes to mind as an industry driver. However, a handful of winemakers like Inwood Estates and Fall Creek Vineyards continue to produce this challenging wine, and I can tell you exceptional Chardonnay can be produced in Texas.
As soon as I heard Fall Creek was releasing a VERY limited quantity of 2013 Chardonnay, I knew I had to taste and review this wine. As most of us are aware, 2013 was a complete disaster of a vintage for Texas grapes due to the devastating and historical late spring freezes statewide, and large hail in the Texas Hill Country. This bottling is a true story of survival, as the total harvest had enough yield to fill just over a single barrel. That’s right folks, a mere 30 cases were produced from the devastating vintage, but this wine benefited from quality not quantity.
Before even removing the cork, the shimmering gold is clearly visible in the bottle, which represents a long hang time on the vines, resulting in a very deep color. I fell in love as soon as I pulled said cork, as notes of light and creamy buttery caramel rushed into my nostrils. In the glass I detect gala apples, lemon zest, and that delectable buttery caramel. The palate confirms the nose with the addition of lovely mineral components. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the 14.9% alcohol by volume is well integrated. Despite the high number, to my palate the perception is only at a medium level.
- Fall Creek Vineyards Chardonnay, 2013 vintage
- Winemaker: Sergio Cuadra
- Appellation: Texas Hill Country, Certenberg Vineyards
- Grape varieties: Chardonnay
- Barrels: 12 months French Oak, whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented
- Clarity/Brightness: Clear/bright with no detectable flaws and no gas or sediment
- Tannins: N/A
- Acidity: High
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Medium
- Alcohol by volume: 14.9%
- Price: $50.00, available only at the Fall Creek Vineyards at Driftwood location
I won’t call this bottle of wine a bargain at the retail price, but it is fair considering the very limited production. Are you willing to pay 50 bones for a piece of 2013 Texas grape history? This is up to you. I tried hard to find something I didn’t care for about this wine, but quite frankly I really like it and it is well made. Even my wife thoroughly enjoyed this wine and she is not a Chardonnay gal. If I had to dig deep in my judgmental being, I personally would prefer a more powerful aroma on the nose, but it is supple and delectable, and the palate more than makes up for it with a full and complex flavor profile. This Chardonnay is much like the Burgundian style, meaning a toasty/buttery nose and mouth feel, but a crisp and refreshing acidity and mineral driven profile. Stop by the newly opened Driftwood tasting room for a glimpse of this sexy Chardonnay, and do it quickly because 30 cases will simply not last very long.
Note: The Terroir Reflections Series encompasses the finest Texas yields from the Fall Creek portfolio, complete with a redesigned label just for this series.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.