The Story The Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 is sourced from vineyards in 63% Napa County (mostly Carneros and Southern Napa) and 37% Monterey County (including Arroyo Secco and San Bernabe). These are excellent Chardonnay growing regions where the average Chardonnay is far more expensive than the Franciscan's $14.99 list price. The list price for a wine and the price that you see on a wine shop shelf are rarely the same. Wines in this price range are often discounted. I actually found it in Chicago for $7.99, but that is something I will touch on in the companion podcast. This is a value priced Chardonnay with boutique-like technical details. The Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 under went malolactic fermentation and was aged “on lees”. Portions of the Chardonnay was fermented with native yeast. That is the yeast that naturally floats in the air and also attached itself to the grape skin. 76% of the wine was fermented in oak barrels, 24% in stainless steel tanks. The barrel fermented portion was aged an additional 7 months in small French and American oak barrels. 30% of the barrels are new, the rest used. They even name the cooperage (the company that made the barrels) in the tasting notes. I can't remember ever seeing that detail in a wine in this price range. The Franciscan Chardonnay 2017 is a wine sourced from top-notch Chardonnay growing areas. Has production techniques that are common in far more expensive Chardonnay. But is priced with the value wines. The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale wheat yellow. The nose is husky melon and lemon, with sweet peach and pear, green apple and lime, spring flowers and a little spice. This is a medium-bodied Chardonnay, full flavored, with nice viscous mouth-feel. It tastes of a mix of peach and lemon, ripe Golden delicious apple, candy spice (not sweet), and Bosc pear. The mid-palate rocks, French vanilla, guava and custard, with a light slap of butterscotch. The acidity is well-balanced, though I think this is more of a sipping wine. Mainly because of the strong and distinct flavors, it may not balance well with all foods. But if you can get inspired and match up the flavors you should be well rewarded. The finish lingers for quite some time. The Summary * The Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 is an extremely well priced Chardonnay at its list price, it is a “think about buying a case” wine at the $7.99 price I found it at. * If you are worried about all the oak with barrels being used for both fermentation and aging, don't worry too much. This is “new” California Chardonnay, not the “old school” butter bombs of a decade ago. * This Chardonnay will stack up well with most Chardonnay under $25. Of course, preferring certain wines is subjective, but this is a quality Chardonnay.
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