The StoryThe Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay 2018 is sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards in more than one California grape-growing AVAs. Fetzer was founded in 1968 and is a Certified B Corp, which is a designation given to companies that are sustainably and ethically managed, others are Patagonia and Ben and Jerry's. The Sundial Chardonnay sells over under 10 bucks (I found it on sale for $6.99) but received 88 points from Wine Spectator magazine. Wine Spectator typically deals with high-end wines and does not easily give points to any wine much less a value-priced wine. Fetzer is head-quartered in Hopland, California which is in the Mendocino AVA.I checking out Fetzer's website I found the Sundial Chardonnay has been receiving excellent wine scores for a number of years, which isn't always the case for sub-$10 wines (these wines tend to get overlooked by the wine magazines). Often value-priced White wine is very simply produced and with good results, but the Sundial production isn't so simple. This Chardonnay was fermented in stainless steel tanks, the tasting notes were vague, but it looks like a percentage of the tanks has French and American oak (staves, chips, or actual barrels?) and the oak has various levels of toast. The inside of new wine barrels are flamed to toast the wood and different levels of toasting impart unique flavors to the wine. The oaked portion of the Chardonnay also completed malolactic fermentation. So that they used French and American oak (each has their flavor profile) and used multiple toast levels indicates that Fetzer went to great lengths to get the overall taste experience they had in mind. The alcohol content is 13.5%.The Tasting NotesThe color is a clear, shiny butter yellow. The nose is sweet, floral, and fresh, there are notes of ripe apple, vanilla, peach, lemon chiffon, pear, soft spice, along with spring flowers. This is a smooth, dry, flavorful Chardonnay, there is an oak influence, but well-balanced. It tastes of tart apple, lime, lemon, and vanilla cream. The mid-palate offers a salty nutty sensation, a little butter, unsweetened pineapple, and guava. The acidity allows the flavors to unfold and does not intrude on the flavor profile. The finish is strong and long. The Summary * The Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay 2018 is a really nice effort. If you like your Chardonnay with a little bit of oak influence, but not too much and you do not want to spend much money, then this is your wine. * This is a tasty, light side of medium-bodied Chardonnay, really well-balanced, everything has its place.
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