Friday, March 20, 2009

Chateau St. Jean Belle Terre Vineyards Chardonnay, 2003

After my extremely positive note on this wine [December 31, 2008] I've had a chance to try two additional bottles that were not as scintillating. Bottle No. 2 smelled a bit burned, as if it had been exposed to heat at some time; bottle No. 3, tonight, was a bit tired and not as exciting as bottle No. 1 but still very good.

It's a medium deep gold in color, several shades darker than the December 31 bottle. The white peaches, nutmeg and spice notes are still prominent in the aroma and flavors along with a distinctly buttery quality and a creamy texture. A very enjoyable bottle but there is a lot more focus on the oak-derived as opposed to the unique fruit qualities that characterized the December 31 bottle.

Bottle variation is a fact of life with this wine--either because of age or heat damage. I'm willing to put up with it because at it's worst the wine is enjoyable while at it's best it's exceptional. At it's best, the wine is worth its $30 original retail price and a real bargain at $13.39--the price I paid and that is still available at Harding's Market Crosstown in Kalamazoo. I'm willing to put up with the bottle variation; if you're not, Hardings will give you a refund if you go to the service counter with an empty or full bottle.

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