Franciscan Oakville Chardonnay Cuvee Sauvage 2005
Generally speaking, I’m against the majority of California Chardonnay on the market — but not against ALL California Chards.
What bugs me is the proliferation of formulaic, oak-driven “soda-pop” Chards that taste more like Sugar Smacks than fermented grapes. The bulk of these disasters in a bottle are in the under $20 segment, but there are also a number of higher-priced Chardonnays that are flawed by too much wood.
The problems of over-oaked are 1. the wood overpowers the fruit, so you don’t taste the Chardonnay; and 2. oak doesn’t match very well with most foods. However, that doesn’t mean oak is always bad — it merely needs to be used judiciously. The key is the fruit; if the grapes produce a very rich, ripe flavor, then it can stand up to a good dose of oak and create a harmonious, delicious sipper.
One such example of a California Chardonnay with a wonderful balance of fruit and oak is Franciscan Oakville Chardonnay Cuvee Sauvage.
Tasting Notes: Cuvee Sauvage
Wide open, delicious smelling aroma of ripe pear, peach, banana, spicy oak, vanilla, and a hint of warm apple pie. In the mouth it has a silky, creamy, buttery texture, carrying lots of succulent ripe pear, baked apple, vanilla, honey, and oak. The oak actually runs a touch bitter, giving off some tannins, in the finish. Acidity is mild to nearly medium. On the fat and oaky side, but surprisingly not overwhelming and also not too hot in the finish. Itâ€™s almost on the sweet side, making it more of a fireplace wine than something youâ€™d match successfully with a bevy of foods. However, it will match adequately with roasted rosemary chicken, dishes drenched with garlic, and maybe hot and spicy cuisine, where the sweetness acts as a foil against the heat. Long, elegant finish. A rich, delicious, and succulent wine to enjoy by the fire.
a-10 t-10 b-7 fc-7 v-7 ~ 91 Points