I've been a proponent of low- and no-oak chardonnay for quite some time now. Actually I wonder sometimes if it's that I'm for those wines or just strongly against over-oaked ones. It's probably a combination of both, really.
One thing that I do have to admit though: chardonnay made without oak can be awfully boring on the nose. It's just not an overly aromatic grape and that's part of the reason it goes into oak so often... to bring some sort of aromatics to the wine.
This 100% stainless steel chardonnay from Macari Vineyards, their 2007 Estate Chardonnay ($19) is one example that doesn't need oak to be aromatic.
Blind, I though that this wine was a sauvignon blanc at first becuase of its citrus aromas with more subtle ones of fresh-cut grass. As it warmed, some green apple started to poke through as well. The medium-bodied palate is lively with fresh acidity and bright citrus and green apple flavors. I'm even getting a little minerality on a clean, appettite-whetting finish.
I hate that even stainless steel chardonnay seems to be creeping up to $20 locally, but this is a fine example nonetheless.
Producer: Macari Vineyards
Rating: (3 out of 5 | Recommended)