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2014 Matchbook “The Arsonist” Chardonnay

2014 Matchbook “The Arsonist” Chardonnay

Now that we are blessed with the occasional sunny and warm afternoon, I find myself starting to move towards the lighter reds and heavier whites.  I have always been a seasonal wine drinker, for the most part, sipping on whites throughout the summer and almost only drinking the big reds when it’s uncomfortably cold outside.  So, what I want lately is a big white with some body and oomph to it.

If The Arsonist bottle isn’t a clear enough indicator of the style of wine that’s inside, perhaps the bold label and name are.  The bottle is heavy, with a deep punt, wide body, and thick lip.  I love the bottle.

I love the wine as well.  This 100% chardonnay from the Dunnigan Hills AVA is golden yellow with slow legs. The nose brings honeysuckle, Bartlett Pear, coconut, and toast.  I immediately noticed the smooth and round body, soft on the palate with pineapple, melon, and honey.

There is a nice undertone of minerality in the wine as well, creating balance so that it isn’t an oak/butter bomb.  The finish is coating and creamy with good length and a very subtle smokiness. I would pair this with shrimp alfredo, rotisserie chicken, or grilled salmon. I tried it with a slice of almond pound cake which I think worked very well. The sweetness of the cake really brought out the subtle minerality of the wine.

Frequent stirring of the lees, known as bâtonnage, is what gives this wine the smooth and creamy roundness that I so enjoyed (along with malolactic fermentation, of course, but that’s another post).  Lees are a by-product of fermentation, specifically when yeast cells are destroyed by autolysis.  These cell particles precipitate in the bottom of wine vats while aging, and are sometimes left to rest so that the wine can age “on the lees,” or sur lie in order to extract yeasty aromas and flavors.

Other times, winemakers will frequently stir these lees in order to extract more flavor and to create the creamy, buttery mouthfeel.  If you like this quality in a wine, look for “lees” somewhere in the wine description.  This is one method that some Pinot Gris producers in Oregon use in order to make a different style of wine from the grape than you would typically find in Italy, where it is known as Pinot Grigio instead.

Wine Enthusiast gives this wine 91 points and an “Editor’s Choice” designation.  Vivino users rate it 3.9 out of 5 points with an average price of $22.  I paid $14.99 for my bottle, and I also give it a 91.

ABV 14.3%

Purchased in Atlanta, GA rating:  91 points

Costco SKU #: 1135136