The Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay 2013 is sourced from grapes farmed in the Clarksburg, Monterey and Lodi AVA’s of northern California. Bogle Vineyards is a 6th generation, family owned vineyard (they have 1500 acres of grape vines) and winery located in the Clarksburg AVA, which is in the Sacramento River Delta. This Chardonnay is fermented “on lees” , half in stainless steel tanks and the other half in new American oak barrels and then aged for 9 months in new American oak. On lees or sur lees means that the dead yeast and grape residue is left with the juice during fermentation, this adds structure and a creamy flavor to the wine. A portion of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation, that is where the naturally occurring malic acid (tastes tart) is transformed into lactic acid (rounded and smooth), so there should be a mix of smooth and tart flavors in this wine. That is a very solid list of wine-making procedures for a Chard that sells for around $10. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a clear, shiny, sunshine yellow. The nose is a mix of Macintosh apple, pear, vanilla, melon and roses. This is a Chardonnay that engages your palate, there is soft ripe fruit on the tongue, tart flavors and a streak of acidity in the back of your mouth, this is not a shy Chardonnay. It tastes of apple, pear, a little peach, a light hit of butterscotch and a soft touch of grapefruit. The mid-palate shows tart lemon/lime, softer melon and salty cashew. With American oak used in both fermentation and aging, I thought the oak might be a bit pronounced, but the oak influence is fairly delicate and balanced. The finish is full and long.
Chardonnay is the wine-makers wine, if there are a thousand different wineries, they will produce a thousand different Chardonnays. Where the grapes are grown, on lees, malolactic fermentation and the oak program (or lack of an oak program) are major contributors to the end product and no two wineries do everything exactly the same way. I have people tell me that “they don’t like oaked Chardonnay”, and I tell them that you really can’t categorize Chardonnay as oaked or unoaked, there are way too many variables. To know Chardonnay, you have to drink a lot of wine. If you have had 10, 15 or 25 different Chards you are barely scratching the surface.
The Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay 2013 is hugely flavorful, nicely balanced, very well-made and bargain priced. An interesting array of flavors, with a solid dose of acidity (every good Chardonnay has solid, balanced acidity), the Bogle Chardonnay is a backyard deck sipper that skillfully doubles as a food wine. It has the flavor and structure to handle spicy Asian, fancy salads and is bold enough to handle a blue cheese burger off the Weber grill. The 2013 grape vintage is northern California was outstanding and the 2013 Bogle Chardonnay is an excellent example of the strength of that vintage.