Seven of Hearts Chardonnay 2011

Well, my first post on this blog shall be about a bottle my wife and brought back to Canada with us from a visit down to the Willamette Valley in Oregon last October. With kids along we felt it was a bit hard to get around to many tasting rooms but I did happen to go out on my own one afternoon while the kids had a nap. We were staying in Carlton, Oregon, which has quite a few tasting rooms all within a short walk of downtown.

I started out with my first tasting room experience ever at the Seven of Hearts Winery. Feeling a bit nervous and out of my element the staff in the tasting room were very kind, friendly, and put my nerves at ease. I tasted a flight of their 2011 offerings and enjoyed my first experience of Oregon Pinot Noir. We’re big fans of Chardonnay around here since deciding on finding a good one a number of summers ago, so I thought I’d bring home a bottle of their Gran Moraine Chardonnay. From reading about the wine I learnt it was a colder year than normal in the valley so that means less ripe grapes, which means less sugar, which means tarter wines. I wasn’t sure what to expect as we’ve sampled a fair range of Chardonnays but was surprised at the outcome of this bottle.

See: Opened and poured, the wine has a very pale straw colour with thin legs (click here for a post from my favorite wine blog about what legs mean).

Smell: The aromas are a bit more subtle than most Chardonnay we’ve sampled, but I expect part of this possibly could be it was a bit too cold at first when we tried it. It smells heavily of ripe apple, some citrus (lime or lemon), a bit of flower, and honey comb.

Taste: Drinking the wine shows a really different experience, as it was super dry and tart initially. Though a smooth texture and light bodied, it is the very bright acidity that was overwhelming the mouth. Lots of citrus flavours and a long finish with much more acidity and perhaps a tad minerally. This wine almost tastes green, like the smell of freshly cut grass. In a blind tasting I probably would have called this wine Sauvignon Blanc since there was so much tartness, which we’ve not really experienced much in Chardonnay.

Conclusion: Though the acidity seems to through the balance of this wine off a bit we didn’t find it horrid and finished off the bottle (have been known to cork a bad bottle and save for cooking). With some food I think this wine really could come around to being enjoyable (as most high acid wines go well with food). With its very bright acidity is could be said this wine would be refreshing on a warm summer evening sitting around on the back deck with friends.

I’m not sure that this wine will be seen much in our local area as they only produced 182 cases of it, but even if it were around I don’t think I’d pay the retail $28.00 again to try it a second time. Just not our style of Chardonnay in the end. This wine would be good for anyone that enjoys really refreshing crisp versions of this varietal, so I’m going to give this wine a 7/10.

  • Chardonnay
  • USA, Oregon, Yamhill-Carlton AVA
  • 2011 – 13.5%
  • Seven of Hearts Winery, Gran Moraine
  • $28.00
  • Real cork

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