The Charles Smith Eve Chardonnay 2016 is 100% Chardonnay sourced from Washington State. Yes, I know that is a vague description for grape sourcing, but some of my confusion comes from the label. Typically with Washington State wine in this price range (I found it on sale for $8.99) the label shows Columbia Valley as the place of origin. There are 14 AVA’s in Washington and 12 are either the Columbia Valley or are located inside the Columbia Valley AVA, so there is a very good chance Columbia Valley will be shown on the label. Charles Smith Wines all show Washington State as place of origin, the largest possible boundary designation. The tasting notes show the grapes came from a single vineyard, the Evergreen vineyard in the Ancient Lakes AVA, inside Columbia Valley. Charles Smith Wines are very upfront on their sourcing, if 8 vineyards are used they will list all 8 vineyards. If a value priced wine is actually a single vineyard wine the producers normally will show that off, but here they went the other direction, show the single vineyard in the tasting notes and be loud and around about Washington State on the label. Or maybe grapes from outside the Columbia Valley are used and just not shown. This is an un-oaked Chardonnay, fermented and aged in stainless steel vats. 20% of the juice underwent malolactic fermentation, that is a process where the tart natural acid is converted to softer more rounded tasting acid. The Eve Chardonnay was aged 6 months “on lees“. On lees is important with any wine, but especially Chardonnay, that means the dead yeast and grape residue are left in the vat with the wine and stirred, the more you stir the more the wine takes on a creamy texture and taste, a salty, nutty flavor is also common. Every winemaker produces their Chardonnay different than the next one. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a clean, clear wheat yellow. The nose is lemon, melon, and pear, a little apple, a touch of stone fruit and a floral bouquet. This Chardonnay has a soft, plump mouthfeel, sometimes unoaked Chardonnay can be a little sharp. It tastes of green apple, mixed with peach, lemon curd, and melon. The mid-palate shows the effects of “on lees” with salty cashew, and a little vanilla cream, followed by a late hit of guava. The acidity has me smacking my lips, which is always a very good sign, especially with White wine. You want the acidity to stimulate your palate, not bite or sizzle. The tasting notes indicate that this Chardonnay has the acidity to be cellared and aged. The the finish is rich and lengthy.
I like the Charles Smith Eve Chardonnay 2016, I think Washington produces some of the best value priced wine, they tend to be plush and fruit-forward, but always with balance. I have been into Chardonnay with some oak conditioning and aging lately, but this un-oaked Chard hits the spot. It has a terrific mouthfeel, not too smooth, not too tart, a solid mix of flavors and excellent acidity.