Even though Chardonnay is one of the most diverse—and most planted—white wine grapes in the world, I am just giving it the respect it deserves. Many years ago, I didn’t like the buttery, oaky flavors and just wrote it off. Since I’ve been on this wino journey, I’ve given it other tries—with different regions and fermentation methods—and found that yes, I do like Chardonnay! And with that revelation, I recently grabbed this 2017 Olema Chardonnay.
The vision behind every Olema wine is to capture one vibrant place inside a bottle, all while working to show the world that outstanding wines can come at an everyday-drinking price. The Olema winemaking philosophy comes down to discovering vineyard sources that grow great fruit at a great price. Another key to Olema’s wines is blending. They aim to create balance, a wine that isn’t too skewed in any direction.
The 2017 Olema Chardonnay, made by Amici Cellars, is a blend produced from premier vineyards in Sonoma County, with grapes coming from the Russian River Sonoma Coast appellations. A portion of the blend was aged in barrels for a rich, creamy texture with the remainder fermented in stainless steel which preserves the bright, vibrant fruit, and crispness. I’ve found that I’m usually partial to stainless steel fermentation. We’re lucky that there even was a 2017 vintage, since they grapes were fortunately unaffected by the wildfires that year.
The wine was pale yellow in color with a bright nose, with notes of pear, peach, and yellow apple. On the palate, I tasted stone fruit, some of the oak, more apple, and a bit of zest. It was medium-high alcohol, which I felt a tad on the back of my throat during the finish. You can find it at Total Wine for $15.99, so it was a great value. I paired it with an evening outdoors with some charcuterie.