The 2012 Charles & Charles Chardonnay is sourced from several mature vineyards in the Columbia Valley AVA of Washington State (Click here for a list of vineyards used and other tech info). Charles & Charles is a joint project by Charles Smith (K Vintners, Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Velvet Devil Merlot, and many others) and Charles Bieler (3 Thieves, The Show line of wines and Newman’s Own wines). The 2012 grape vintage in Australia, California (especially northern California) and Washington was an excellent vintage, if you have a choice between, 2010, 2011 and 2012, it is usually a safe bet to grab the 2012. 20% of this Chardonnay was aged in new French oak barrels, the other 80% saw no oak and it was aged for 7 months “sur lees’. “Sur Lees” is a French term and it indicates that all the dead yeast and grape residue was left in the barrel with the Chardonnay, it adds flavor (usually nutty flavor and adds structure). You should be able to find this Chardonnay for $10 to $14 and the alcohol content is 13.3%.
The color is a clear, shiny, pale golden yellow. The nose is delicate and pretty, tropical fruit, pineapple, apple, banana taffy and melon. This is not a heavy Chardonnay, it is sort of light bodied, but it has very bold flavor. The 20% French oak aging gives the Chardonnay a slight buttery flavor on the mid palate, along with a hint of salty cashew. It tastes of crisp apple, lemon, a little melon and Anjou pear. The acidity gives the Chardonnay some solid length and the finish is full and long.
The fruit and citrus upfront combined with the buttery, salty, nutty flavors on the mid palate make the Charles and Charles Chardonnay one delicious wine. Even though it is on the medium to light bodies side, there is enough going on in the flavor department for this Chardonnay to stand up to spicy Thai or Chinese and a wide variety of fish and seafood dishes. The 2012 Charles and Charles Chardonnay is an adictively good, drink at your own risk.