My feelings about New York barrel-fermented chardonnay are pretty well known -- there is too much of it made and it's rarely distinctive.
True, some of that is just my personal preferences. I don't typically reach for barrel-influence chardonnay often. But I think if you asked many local winemakers, they'd rather have less chardonnay in the ground than they do. More sauvignon blanc, maybe, here on Long Island? Maybe more riesling or gewurztraminer in the Finger Lakes?
Being near-ubiquitous doesn't mean it can't be any good, however, as this Wolffer Estate Vineyards 2007 "Perle" Chardonnay ($30) proves.
Winemaker Roman Roth's "Estate Selection" chardonnay at Wolffer has long been one of the glorious exceptions to that ubiquity. This is the same wine, just rebranded.
Roasted hazelnuts and subtle oak lead the nose here with aromas of ripe, juicy peach, roasted apples, vanilla and dried pineapple beneath.
Rich and mouth-filling, the palate delivers concentrated and varied flavors of peach, lemon zest, roasted nuts, vanilla and golden apple -- all balanced and enlivened by great acidity.
Despite the intensity of the mid-palate, the lengthy finish is almost delicate, lingering with citrus and light vanilla flavors.
Producer: Wolffer Estate Vineyards
AVA: The Hamptons, Long Island
Harvest Brix: 22.4
TA: 5.7 g/L