This is what our editors and contributors were drinking last week....
If you have any of this knocking around in your cellar, chill it only lightly and open it tonight. It's nearly impossible to know if it's truly peaking (and this was my last one) but it's tasting so delicous right now, that I don't want you to miss it.
I've been a vocal advocate for less (okay, usually no) oak in Long Island chardonnay, but Wolffer's winemaker, Roman Roth, has been crafting well-balanced chardonnays of varying styles for years. He truly does make most of his wines with aging in mind -- this wine is a fine example.
Any raw oak flavors have faded away, leaving lovely roasted nuts, soft vanilla and an intriguing juniper berry character, all supporting a still-lively core of pear and citrus fruit.
The acidity is still fresh, balancing the rich creamy mouthfeel on the mid-palate, and making it damn near perfect with our pasta tossed with roasted squash, roasted garlic and sauteed kale.
I'm not saying that you should hold onto barrel aged chardonnay from any ole Long Island producer, but with the best, five years in the cellar will clearly be rewarded.
This is an excellent example of why wine needs time to show off the evolution of its character.
We opened this bottle in solidarity with my wife's parents, who are staying at Shinn Estate this week for their first trip to Long Island wine country.
They loved their visit to Paumanok, so we thought we'd connect to their experience.
This wine opens as pure, rich soil. I mean that in a wonderful sense. It's like rich loamy earth pockmarked with dark cherry notes. Full and long, but also showing the kind of acidity that has kept it so remarkably fresh. It was a huge hit on the first night.
In a reversal of a more typical pattern, the second night saw the wine shed much of the earth in favor of voluptous primary fruit. If you could somehow pour a glass of night one and a glass of night two, and taste them side-by-side, you'd not possibly declare them to be the same wine. If you were me, you would dig them both for showing unique sides without ever showing much oak. We've got one more bottle left of this, and I'm going to hold it for quite a while to see what else develops.
With a nose of bitter baker's chocolate with a hint of chili pepper and sweaty, horse barn-y musk, the nose on this wine only suggests what the palate has in store: an explosion I could only describe to my co-workers as Javier Bardem in a glass.
It's full-throttle testosterone tangoing with rustic European charm, dirty and lusty with tannin and earth, and oh, that finish...flashes of everything from Cheerios-esque minerality to sweaty sex musk in the backseat of a leather car make for a length that was akin to my life flashing before my eyes.
Ladies and gentlemen, this may be the most rapturously I've ever spoken about a California wine.
Pair it with the Solomon Burke song "Flesh and Blood" and plan on staying in.