The Novellum Chardonnay 2016 is one of Eric Solomon’s European Cellars Selection family of wines, produced by Domaine Lafage in the Côtes Catalanes district of the Roussillon growing region along the Mediterranean Ocean near the French border with Spain. Mentioning the importer is especially important with wines from France, Italy, and Spain, because the leading importers, in this case Eric Solomon, tend to have a “house style” with their import wines and often have a hands on approach to finding and producing wines that fit into their family of wines. If you like one in a leading importers portfolio, there is a good chance you will be very interested in several other of their offerings. This is an under $10 Chardonnay, but it has received 92 points from Wine Spectator magazine. The vineyards of Domaine Lafage are practicing organic, but are not yet certified organic, it takes several years to get certified. 30% of this Chardonnay is aged in French oak barrels and the remaining 70% was aged in stainless steel vats. The interesting part of the stainless vat aging is the vats previously contained Viognier and when the vats were drained for bottling the “lees” (dead yeast and grape residue) from the Viognier were left in the vats and this Chardonnay was aged using Viognier “lees“. The alcohol content is 13%.
The color is a pale wheat yellow. The nose is crisp and clean, ripe apple, lemon, pear, a little tropical fruit, and melon. This a medium bodied Chardonnay with excellent structure and some pleasing depth to the flavors. It starts with a mix of apple and honey, but not sweet, lemon, melon, and lime. The mis-palate adds salty cashew, a touch of cream, and light peach and pear. This Chardonnay has a full, smooth mouth-feel and the acidity gives the wine excellent length while being well-balanced by the body of the wine. The finish is full and slightly oily and lasts for some time.
The Novellum Chardonnay 2016 hits well above its price point, I think I found it for a few cents under 9 bucks. My opinion of Chardonnay is that there is many “pretty good” Chardonnay and not many “wow” Chardonnay, no matter what the price range. The Novellum isn’t a “wow” Chardonnay, but it is most definitely “pretty good” Chardonnay and you can spend a great deal more for “pretty good” but you will be hard pressed to find “pretty good” Chardonnay selling for less.