Mon 9 Apr 2012
I wanted a deftly handled chardonnay to drink with LL’s roasted sea bass and pancetta with braised leeks, sweet potatoes and black garlic, so I plucked a bottle of Trefethen Estate Chardonnay 2010, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, from the fridge, and it delivered all the purity and intensity that I was looking for. This is a chardonnay — aged only nine months in French oak and only 16 percent new barrels — that embodies Platonic ideals of poise and integration, subtlety and elegance. Classic scents of ripe pineapple and grapefruit seem fairly typical until a few moments in the glass bring out an extraordinary display of thyme, lavender and bay leaf, quince and ginger, with back-notes of shale and limestone. The wine is both full-blown juicy and rigorously dry, its flavors of fresh apples, lemon curd and baked grapefruit cut by clean vibrant acidity and scintillating limestone-like minerality, so that its lovely soft dense almost powdery texture is bolstered and balanced by crispness and a sense of vivid alertness; yes, I’m talking about character and breeding. The alcohol content is a very comfortable 13.5 percent. Now through 2015 or ’16, well-stored. Winemaker was Zeke Neeley. Excellent. About $30, though prices around the country go as low as $22.
A sample for review from a wholesaler.