Merriam Vineyards Simoneau Ranch Alexander Valley 2010 Chardonnay, $9.99-$19.99, 88 points, poured a rich copper/brass color.
Look, this is a big archetypically oaked Cali Chardonnay, and as a Chablis fan I struggle to be fair to its full-body, fair acidity, overwhelming oakiness, its butter/caramel notes, and its dense tropical flavor character.
Smells were familiar toasty cantaloupe with a hint of lemon.
Finished well with ginger, white pepper, a well integrated 13.8% alcohol, and yes, oak!
The secret with these big Chardonnays are an appropriate cuisine; I satisfactorily paired this with a rich chicken, broccoli, cheddar cheese stew.
To give some perspective on these big Cali Chardonnay wines, I scored the Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley 2008 Chardonnay, $26.49-$34.49, 89 points.
The lesson here is, if you like great big buttery Chardonnay wines you'll get little sympathy with me, no matter who you are.
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