I've been vocal in my appreciation for winemakers who eschew the overblown use of oak in their chardonnays. I can appreciate well-made barrel-fermented chardonnay, but it's not a style I drink a lot of. Maybe it's the riesling lover in me, but I tend to like a purer expression of fruit and the vineyard in my whites.
That doesn't mean that I love every no-oak chardonnay that I come across.
This McGregor Vineyard 2007 Unoaked Chardonnay ($17) is not one of the better examples I've had.
Such a pale green-tinted yellow that it's nearly colorless, the nose is similarly light and austere with primary green apple aromas and hints of wet gravel. The palate, which has flavors identical to the nose, is medium-light bodied and very acidic, almost harshly so. I love acidity in white wines, but the malic acid, just-bite-into-an-underripe-green apple tartness is too much here, throwing the wine off balance.
My friend Loisa Hargrave, the founding mother of Long Island wine, once told me that the prefers unoaked chardonnays with a bit of bottle age. This might be a wine with which to test her theory that they age well in the short term. I'd like to try this again in 18 months or so.
Producer: McGregor Vineyard
AVA: Finger Lakes
Rating: (2 out of 5 | Average)