Benovia's RRV Chardonnay Scores Top Honors with KWG Tasting Panel
94 Points (Excellent) | Benovia 2007 Russian River
"Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in America. But the
world of Chardonnay is changing. I personally didn't think a
change was needed, but like most success stories, the general
philosophy appears to be a change or die message. What is the
change taking place in the Chardonnay world? The change is in
style. The traditional California oaked and malolactic
fermentation Chardonnay style is being challenged by a new unoaked
and fruit-forward movement. We found this to be especially
true at the lower price points. We have seen this stylistic
change take place in the many Chardonnays that we have tried over
the last 2 years. I still think that Pinot Noir has the
greatest number of styles for wine lovers to try but I am now
certain that Chardonnay will continue to present many different
options in the near term as well. Below is what we found in
our recent Chardonnay tastings. I will also follow up this
post with another summary post of some of my favorite Chard
discoveries from my recent trip to California.
Which Chardonnays were our favorites? We found quite a few
gems. As in the past, we also found that most of the best
Chardonnays tended to be premium level wines and they are priced at
more than $20. There are a few exceptions that are priced
lower like Kendall Jackson's Vintners Reserve, Foxglove,
Stonehedge, Four Vines, and Columbia Crest's "Grand Reserve."
For the most part, like Pinot, you will need to spend a little more
to get a top level Chardonnay.
Which Chardonnay won the KWG Tasting Panel's highest honors?
Our favorite Chard came from a winery that I had never heard of
before. The 2007 Benovia "Russian River Valley" Chardonnay
just blew us away. This wine was Excellent and we scored it 94
points. At $35, this wine is a steal. The only
downside, I could see is there were only 330 cases made of this
delicious wine. This wine will appeal to those readers who
like the light oak style we talked about above. It displays
fabulous ripe pear flavors with notes of vanilla, banana, and light
oak as well. It would pair well with lobster or crab cakes
with a light cream dipping sauce. It was just yummy!"
By Ken's Wine Guide Tasting Panel, 08/04/2009