Two Distinct Chardonnays

My Bride and I were killing some time at The Fine Wine Source after the tasting with Tom Celani, as we were waiting for Tom to autograph the bottles.  We wandered over to another tasting area and tried some other wines, usually one of the barrels are set up with wines to be tasted from the Old World and the other barrel is of the New World.  With the special event at the shop, this tasting area was a mixed bag, and that is fine as we had a chance to try two wines side by side, that we normally would not have a chance to do.

We had some Failla Chardonnay Coombsville 2016. Failla (pronounced Fay-Lah) is a wine producer of recent origin, their first vintage was 1998 and then they were known as Failla-Jordan from the two owners Ehren Jordan and Ann-Marie Failla.  While they own fourteen acres in Sonoma, in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA, they have been securing fruit prior to their land acquisition and they still source fruit from Sonoma and Napa Valley.  While the estate is in Sonoma, the winemaking and their tasting room facilities are located in Napa Valley.  Depending on the vintage and the harvested fruit, they may use cement, French Oak and/or Stainless Steel during the production of the wines.  The fruit for this wine was harvested from Coombsville and it is the sixteenth sub-appellation of Napa Valley and was designated in 2011.  This wine was a beautiful example of a California Chardonnay, buttery and complex and very balanced.  The oak while giving that buttery and spice tones while evident did allow the terroir of Coombsville to make an appearance as well.  A delightful glass of wine. 

Then we had a chance to follow that classical California Chardonnay with an excellent version of a French Chardonnay.  We had the Domaine Patrick Piuze Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons “Les Minots” 2018.  Domaine Patrick Piuze is a recently founded négociant in Chablis, specializing in the Chardonnay grape.  Patrick Piuze was born in Quebec, Canada and from the age of eighteen began a series of occupations and business in the wine trade culminating with his own winery in 2008.  He owns no vineyards, but has contracts with an assortment of growers who are known for their older vines and they act as consultants on the production of the wines from their properties.  All the fruit is hand harvested and he employs a vertical press rather than a pneumatic press to get the juice.  He has several “Village-level” Chablis wines from assorted sites, as well as eleven Premier Cru and six Grand Crus.  The opening range of wines are done in Stainless Steel and the others are done in neutral oak barrels.  He produces on average one-hundred-ten-thousand bottles a year.   Vaillons is one of the largest Premier Cru vineyards in Chablis and is located in a valley just southwest of the town.  It has the same terroir that is found in the Grand Cru districts and some of the sub-climats use their name and designations and others do not and both are legal in the French wine laws of Burgundy, much beyond my understanding.  This wine was refreshing and what I look for especially in Chablis, the terroir really shines and my notes read “green and flinty” which is my short-hand for a crisp Old-World Chardonnay.  A couple of perfect white wines while we were waiting in the shop. 

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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