Varietal Voyage No.8 – 2007 Trevor Jones Virgin Chardonnay

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Varietal Voyage

The next Chardonnay on our list comes from Australia’s Barossa Valley (pronounced “Bar-ah-sa”). The Barossa Valley is located in southern Australia about 30 miles northeast of Adelaide, this is Aussies’ version of the Napa Valley. This region produces almost half of all the Australian wines. Trevor Jones Winery, part of Kellermeister Wines, is in the town of Lyndoch at the southern tip of the Barossa Valley. The valley’s hot, dry climate is perfect for growing intensely ripe Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Grenache, but it also produces some very good Semillon and Chardonnay.

The 2007 Virgin Chardonnay is unlike many traditional Chardonnays. As the name suggests, this “virgin” chardonnay is made completely without the influence of any oak. Many Chardonnays are fermented in oak tanks and or aged in oak barrels. For some people the use of too much oak overwhelms the natural fruit flavors of the grapes with strong overtones of toasty vanilla. In response, many producers are making wines that limit the amount of oak they use or forego its use completely.

This Virgin vintage was thoroughly enjoyable. For its young age it has a surprising golden yellow color tinted slightly green. The absence of oak is immediately evident, which allows the natural fruit character to shine through. Aromas and flavors of stone fruits (peaches and apricots) permeate the wine with some tropical fruits mixed in for good measure. Nutty, herbal notes may be a sign of some time spent on it lees. It has a rich buttery mouth feel that comes along with the judicious use of malolactic fermentation, a process that converts tart-tasting malic acid (think green apples) to lactic acid (think milk or butter), not uncommon for Chardonnay. With all of this complexity it ends with a clean finish that begs you to take another sip!

2007 Trevor Jones Virgin Chardonnay ($18)

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