Le Chardonnay Nouveau est arrivé!
That's right -- Chardonnay Nouveau, not Beaujolais Nouveau.
Every fall, there is an unbelievable (and unwarranted) amount of hype surrounding Beaujolais Nouveau, the ubiquitous red wine made from Gamay in the Beaujolais region of France that is sold almost as soon as it's done fermenting. It's marketed well -- very well -- as a 'fresh' wine and we'll soon seen bottles in all of our wine shops. Some people even consider it the perfect Thanksgiving wine.
I don't care for the stuff and it's been years since I made my friends and family drink it along side turkey and stuffing. I'd much rather drink Macari Vineyards' 2006 Early Wine -- a Chardonnay Nouveau that I look forward to every year.
And, it's super fresh. The Chardonnay grapes were picked on September 17, the wine bottled October 16 and the final product released on October 23.
Helmut Gangl, an Austrian native who is one of Macari Vineyards' part-time winemakers, created this wine a few years ago, but the newest rendition is by far the best. Rather than call it Chardonnay Nouveau, Gangl chose Early Wine, reminiscent of Jungwein ('young wine') from his homeland.
Previous vintages -- especially the 2005 bottling -- had definite sweetness, but the 2006 is bone dry, crisp and delicious. A super-pale yellow in the glass, tiny bubbles cling to the inside of the glass. The nose is clean, bright and fresh with crisp apple, pear and lime aromas that are accented by faint mineral notes. A burst of lively pear, green apple and lime flavor greets the palate with terrific acidity and a surprisingly long finish.
If you want to talk perfect for Thanksgiving, talk about this wine, which can also stand in for Riesling with spicy Chinese, Thai or even Mexican fare.
(This review was originally published on Appellation America)