The 2010 (2012 is the current vintage) Tortoise Creek Jam’s Blend Chardonnay is 100% Chardonnay sourced from a sustainably farmed vineyard in Lodi, California. The specifications for this Chardonnay seems to change with each vintage, so the 2011 and 2012 will not be exactly the same as the 2010. Tortoise Creek is a project by Mel and Janie Master (they are the Jam in Jam’s Blend), a British couple who contract small grape growers in the Languedoc, in France and in California to produce wines from each area. This is a single vineyard Chardonnay that sees only a light touch of oak aging and is aged “on lees” (all the dead yeast and grape residue is left in the tank with the wine, it adds flavor and structure) for 6 months. The alcohol content is 13.3%.
The color is extra virgin olive oil yellow. The nose is citrus and floral with a light background of apple and pear. This is a Chardonnay with a fleshy mouthfeel and smooth mellow flavors. It starts with mix of apple, melon and pear, followed by lemon and grapefruit. The mid palate shows tart apricot, unsweetened pineapple and guava. The acidity shows up on the finish and propels a subdued, but tasty finish for quite some time.
They say that Chardonnay is the winemakers wine, it is not the grapes that are the most important, it is the winemaker and what they do with the grapes that make all the difference. I always here someone saying something like, “I don’t like oaked Chardonnay,” and I always tell them, that no, you don’t like oaked Chardonnay by that winemaker. The key to finding good Chardonnay is finding a winemaker that makes it the way you like it. The Tortoise Creek Jam’s Blend Chardonnay has the weighty feel of an oaked Chardonnay, but is fruit forward with an array of interesting flavors. It is a different take on value priced Chardonnay and is definitely worth a try