Ok, the 2009 Black Stallion Estate Winery Napa Valley Chardonnay does not usually sell for the $9.99, more along the lines of $18 to $20, but that is the beauty of wine shops in January, its close out time. I don’t know if this wine changed distributors or if the store had a case or two left in back and just decided to get rid of it, but half off a Napa Chardonnay is too good to pass up. Black Stallion Estate Winery was purchased by the family owned DFV Wines in 2010, DFV produces the Gnarly Head, Brazin, the 446 Chardonnay, along with several others. The grapes for this Chardonnay were sourced from two Napa vineyards, one in Carneros (Carneros is located in western Napa and in eastern Sonoma) and the other from a 40 year old family farmed vineyard in Coombsville. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 8 months, 30% of the barrels are new, the rest previously used. Some of this Chardonnay underwent malolactic fermentation, this is a process where the tart natural acid in the wine is converted to a softer more rounded tasting acid, so this Chardonnay will have a blend of tart citrus and softer apple and pear flavors. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is extra virgin olive oil yellow. The nose is apple (core, seeds and all), butterscotch, salted cashews, vanilla and key lime. This is an oaked Chardonnay, but not heavy handed, the oak adds to the flavor and does not overpower. There is a certain creaminess to the flavors, it tastes of apple and honey, peach and poached pear, a touch of creme brulee and a splash of unsweetened lemon/lime. The mid palate shows dried apricot, pineapple and a dash of French vanilla. The acidity is well balanced provides a stout backbone for the flavors to hang onto. The finish is full and long.
The Black Stallion Napa Chardonnay is an elegant, fancy restaurant worthy wine, it drank better than its price tag when it was a $20 wine. I know many Chardonnay drinkers are apprehensive about drinking oaked Chards, which is why there are so many “naked” Chards on the market. But, when a Chardonnay is oaked with skill and a fine touch, it can take the wine to a whole new dimension.