Kachina Vineyards – 2008 Chardonnay

June 21, 2010

The Facts:

Kachina Vineyards is an artisan Dry Creek Valley Producer located at 4551 Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg. They’re open for tasting by appointment. The largest portion of their portfolio is dedicated to red wines; that currently includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Port. They also make a small Amount of Chardonnay. The Kachina Vineyards 2008 Chardonnay was produced from Dry Creek Valley fruit. This wine underwent malolactic fermentation. Barrel aging was accomplished over 12 months; 70% in new French oak, 30% in stainless steel. A mere 125 cases of this wine were produced and the suggested retail price is $32.

Gabe’s Take:

I only tasted the Kachina 2007 Chardonnay on one occasion and I recall liking it, but I don’t recall many of the details about it. I’ve had a chance to taste the 2008 vintage on 3 separate occasions; the first time, at Passport, in a manner of speaking it blindsided me as I was really knocked out by the litany of flavors. I got to revisit it a few days later and I was similarly pleased. So this last time when I sat down to re-taste it so I could make some notes, I was prepared.

Apple, mango, vanilla and hints of caramel come together to form the core of aromas on the nose of this 2008 Chardonnay. The palate of this wine is rich, round and full; it features bold, juicy, tropical, stone and orchard fruit flavors in abundance. Fresh apple flavors morph into apple pie characteristics on the finish and they’re joined by a litany of spice notes; white pepper and nutmeg to name a few. These flavors linger for an above average length of time leading to a final burst of flavor in the form of creamy coconut flan. Fine acidity keeps everything in check here.

There’s not a whole heck of a lot of Chardonnay coming from Dry Creek Valley producers. So that makes it particularly heartening to see such a well made, delicious and distinct offering from Kachina in their second vintage of this wine. Nancy and Greg Chambers are making lovely small lots wines. For those who relish hand made wines that aren’t on every shelf in America, Kachina is a producer to seek out.

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