Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2019 Review – A Gem From South Africa

We're quickly learning that we love South African Chardonnay and it is for two great reasons.

First, the grape seems to grow beautifully in this country and many wine makers do not seem to go over-the-top on winemaking choices like barrel aging or malolactic fermentation (of the ones we've tried, at least). Second, you can find an incredible bottle for a fraction of the price of other, perhaps more well-known regions for this particular grape (California I'm looking at you on both accounts).

So while Hamilton Russell's Chardonnay may be a bit of a splurge by South Africa wine standards, this one holds up and is perhaps our favorite Chardonnay we've had to date.

Read more

Shenandoah Vineyard’s Blanc 2018 Review – Off-Dry and Tropical

During my time exploring northern Virginia wineries, I found pretty quickly that I had an affinity for the white wines of the region. This was especially true at Shenandoah Vineyards where I found that I absolutely adored their base white blend for being a wonderful off-dry wine.

This white blend includes 51% of Seyval Blanc, 21% Traminette, 11% Chardonnay, 9% Vidal, and 8% Cayuga and certainly packed a punch with a nice hit of tropical flavors along with some minerality and salinity on the nose for good measure.

As it turns out, the bottle I bought at the winery lasted all of about three days before we opened it up at home.

Read more

Standing Stone Chardonnay 2018 Review – Cool Climate Wine

While we've visited Finger Lakes wineries many times over the years, we only visited Standing Stone for the first time in 2020 on the recommendation of a friend to try out their Saperavi.

But after arriving, we found that we enjoyed just about everything the winery offered on our flight. In talking to our server about the wines, we also learned that one of our favorite wineries in the region, Hermann J Wiemer, bought Standing Stone in 2017. This was really all we needed to know about why we liked our entire flight so much- quality producers make quality wines.

Naturally, we purchased many bottles to enjoy at home and one was the Standing Stone Chardonnay 2018 that we opened up in late 2020.

Read more

Pulenta Estate Chardonnay VIII 2018 Review – Tropical and Buttery

Pulenta Estate outside of Mendoza, Argentina, has a special place in our hearts. We visited this one as part of a wine tour we took on Angie's birthday during our year-and-a-half gap trip in 2013-2014 (featured on our travel blog).

We had fallen in love with their entry-level La Flor Malbec and treat it as our go-to entertaining wine when we have guests over and do not know their wine tastes. But since returning home, we wanted to broaden our horizons with some of the winery's other offerings and picked up a bottle of their Chardonnay to try out a varietal we had not had from them before.

It did not disappoint.

Read more

Pares Balta Cava Blanca Cusine 2011 Review – A Stellar Cava

We've had many glasses of Cava in the past- some average, some good. But we had never had one that was absolutely stellar, that is until we had the Pares Balta Blanca Cusine 2011.

This is some stellar Cava, and for its price point (sub $40 per bottle at our local distributor) we absolutely couldn't ask for anything more. In being 78% Xarel-lo (with the rest being Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), we also were able to get a fonder appreciation for the grape in this one.

Read more

Standing Stone Blanc de Blanc 2017 Review – An Acidic Sparkling

When you look at the bottle of Standing Stone Blanc de Blanc from the Finger Lakes, you may be a little confused. Its branding leans in heavily on Hermann J Wiemer, the parent winery of Standing Stone that is located just across Seneca Lake.

But while this one does carry the Hermann J Wiemer branding, the grapes were sourced from vines planted on Standing Stone's property in 1974 all the same. As we are big fans of both of these vineyards, we bought a bottle of the Blanc de Blanc without even sampling it and quickly popped it open after we got home from the region.

Read more

Bloomer Creek Chardonnay & Gruner Veltliner 2016 Review

When we visited the Finger Lakes for a weekend getaway in late 2020, one winery, Bloomer Creek, was not open for tastings (only bottle sales). We placed an order at this one all the same at the request of a friend who wanted some bottles and decided to pick up a few for us to try at home thanks to their great reviews and that one of our favorite local wine shops carries them as well.

It very much was a case of “if it is good for them, it is good for us”.

The first bottle we opened was their naturally fermented, skin contact, unfiltered Chardonnay and Gruner Veltliner blend- a more unusual grape combination than we're used to but one that we have to admit, we really enjoyed.

Read more

Kershaw GPS Lower Duivenhoks River Chardonnay 2017 Review

We're quickly becoming fans of Chardonnay from South Africa, and when we purchased an assortment of bottles from a local wine shop, we were intrigued by the offerings from Richard Kershaw Winery.

Part of this is simply because we like this varietal from the country. But the other part was that Kershaw focuses on single clonal grapes in isolated growing regions similar to what one of our favorite US-based wineries, Boundary Breaks, does for Riesling. So we picked up a bottle of the GPS Series from the Lower Duivenhoks River and paired it with a lovely sous vide salmon dinner.

Read more

Bodega Uvairenda 1750 Torrontes 2018 Review – A Mellow Torrontes

We absolutely adore the varietal Torrontes as grown in South America, and when we found a winery producing it in Bolivia of all places, Bodega Uvairenda, we knew we had to pick up a bottle.

The 1750 Torrontes here is grown at a relatively high altitude (above 5,000 feet) and is blended with about 15% of other grapes including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pedro Gimenez. Together, this wine ends up being a bit more mellow than what you'd typically expect for this otherwise potent varietal.

Read more