I really disapprove with movements such as ABC – Anything But Chardonnay. Thankfully this reaction that started around a decade ago is not mentioned particularly anymore but still, you just can’t make it go away like that. Don’t you think a considerable amount of the end-consumers, which cares and shows interest in wine, still remembers? And unconsciously rejects Chardonnay because it is not the thing to like?
Just like Sideways made life sour for Merlot growers in California, and provided the market with the suddenly more wanted Pinot Noir , the either or-movement of ABC ridiculed Chardonnay consumers. A condescending view is not particularly charming. Black or white. Nothing else. Either you’re with us or you’re not.
Sure, there were buttery oak monsters virtually without any fruit left a decade ago. There still are. But does that mean you have to skip all Chardonnay wines? Why not a RST as well? Riesling Sucks Too. There is a lot of crappy Riesling out there. No, terms/movements such as ABC only results in everyone suffering, not only the freak wines.
Many of the most memorable white wines I’ve had were Chardonnays. Perhaps Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay doesn’t reach to the final top, it is still a fantastic wine, something that was confirmed in a recent tasting of the 2007 and 2008. From selected plots in Ridge’s Middle Vineyard – some of the vines are more than 60 years old!
2007 Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay, 92-93 p
Showing maturity with fine integrated toasted oak. Generous nose with tropical flavors and wet rocks. Lemon curd, a herbal touch, hazelnuts and a discrete note of jasmine. Quite seductive. On the palate a creamy texture which shows some maturity. Wet rocks, pineapple and lime peel. Peaches. Fine acidity. Intense finish. Probably at its best in a year or two.
2008 Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay, 92-93 p
A more restrained style with green apples, more discrete tropical notes, gunpowder and gentle toasted oak. A cooler nose. On the palate it shows more acidity but still a creamy mouth-fill. Lime and white peaches, some pineapple and freshly ground coffee. Humus. Long and clean finish. Not only a year younger but also a different style compared to the ’07. Still, two great glasses I happily drink many, many times. If I only could afford it…
Here’s to one of the world’s greatest grapes. Cheers!
PS. Tasted with the Swedish importer of Ridge.