Recent Chardonnays

With the heat of summer continuing well into fall, Yonatan Sternberg explores some highlights of cool, refreshing Chardonnay options.

It seems that this year the summer simply dose not want to end. Thirty degrees Celsius in Jerusalem in the end of September is rather unusual and according to last nights' weather forecast this heat wave will last at least another week. In my opinion, the choice of which wine to serve depends not only on the occasion or the menu, but also on the weather conditions outside. Last week I had the opportunity to sample a couple of Chardonnay wines that were recently released to the market. Believed by many to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of France, Chardonnay, also referred to as the king of white grapes, is widely planted around the world and also serves as a key ingredient in the production of sparkling wines.

Tzora, Neve Ilan, Blanc, 2009 – Neve Ilan is produced from 100% Chardonnay grapes and aged for 9 months in both barriques as well as stainless steel vats. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation (a secondary fermentation process that creates rounder buttery aromas and flavors), resulting in a refreshing, crisp white wine showing pleasant green and yellow fruit aromas and flavors. Green apples, melon and yellow plums come to mind.

Zion, Armon, Chardonnay, 2009 – 100% Chardonnay grapes from vineyards situated adjacent to Kochav Hashachar at an altitude of 600 meters above sea level, this wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation either. Produced in a limited edition of 3325 bottles, Zion's Chardonnay is deep straw with slight green reflection in color, suggesting aromas and flavors of green apples, honeysuckle and citrus blossom leading to a pleasant and well balanced finish. Zion has gone a long way over the past couple of years and this wine is another example of the "quality revolution" at the winery.

Teperberg, Reserve, Chardonnay, 2009 – Produced from grapes grown at vineyards in the Samaria (Shomron) wine region at an altitude of 650 meters above sea level, deep straw with gold reflections in color, the wine is medium bodied suggesting aromas of pineapple, green melons and lemon zest followed by slight peppery notes. The winery suggests serving the wine alongside grilled fish or rich chicken dishes.

Golan Heights, Katzrin, Chardonnay, 2007 - produced under the winery's flagship label Katzrin, this is a big, full blown chardonnay offering generous aromas and flavors of green apples, white peaches, pears and cloves alongside distinct toasty and buttery notes resulting from barrel and malolactic fermentation as well extended sur lie aging. The winery suggests serving the wine alongside potent hard cheeses or a classic veal osso bocco stew.