The More Halloween Wines 2020 Part 2 for today is the Freakshow Lodi Chardonnay 2018. Freakshow is one of the brands from Michael and David Winery (Lodi, California), there is this Chardonnay, a Red blend, a Cab, and a Zin.
Michael and David Phillips are 5th generation grape growers and their family has farmed in Lodi for one hundred and fifty years. Having vineyards and wineries that go back generations is fairly common in Lodi.
In California, where fifty percent of the wine brands are not affiliated with their own winery or vineyards, Lodi wine is a throw-back to the early days.
Lodi is seventy to one hundred miles inland from the Pacific Ocean which would typically be too warm to grow wine grapes. But luckily for Lodi, the San Pablo Bay which is the northern portion of the San Francisco Bay is far enough inland to funnel cool breezes thru an assortment of river valleys to reach the Lodi vineyards.
Lodi is east and south of Napa and is part of the Central Valley AVA. It is not a cool growing region, it can get warm. But it does have a large temperature difference between average daytime temps and nighttime temps that help wine grapes thrive.
The Freakshow Lodi Chardonnay 2018 is a More Halloween Wines 2020 Part 2 wine mainly from its name. The label artwork is more of a reference to old-time carnival sideshows. The colorful label here features the Mermaid Lady. Maybe not too scary but it does fit the theme.
The grapes for the Freakshow came from Michael and David vineyards and are certified sustainably farmed. They did not go overboard in describing the wines production methods, but what they did say is interesting.
For the fermentation process, half of the wine was fermented in new oak barrels and the other half in stainless steel vats for seven months. The barrels were eighty percent new French oak and twenty percent new American oak.
One hundred percent new oak barrels is rare in this price range, I found it for around $14. You typically see a range of new and used barrels. A good barrel can cost $1,000 and for popular brands, you need a whole bunch of barrels.
Reusing an oak barrel keeps costs down and since every time a barrel is used it imparts less oak influence into wine, it helps to get just the exact amount of oak flavoring into wine. All new barrels (and Mainly the more expensive French oak) is a luxury in this price range as is oak barrel fermentation as opposed to just oak barrel aging.
Fifty percent of this Chardonnay also underwent Malolactic Fermentation, the converting of the natural tart acids to softer more rounded acids. This process is used in Chardonnay to help the wine balance with the oak flavoring. The alcohol content is mild by today’s standards 13.5%.
More Halloween Wines 2020 Part 2 Tasting Notes
The color is reminiscent of a wheat beer. The nose is light and delicate, there are apple and lemon, vanilla, orange blossom honey, buttered toast (just a hint), and coconut.
This is a Chardonnay with a firm mouth-feel, solid acidity, and loads of flavor. It starts with a stew of apricot, green apple, and grapefruit, followed by creamy vanilla almost creme brûlée.
The mid-palate adds a salty sensation, lime, a little tropical fruit. The acidity is well-balanced, almost lip-smacking good but not quite. It allows the flavors to fully unfold.
More Halloween Wines 2020 Part 2 Summary
- The Freakshow Lodi Chardonnay2018 is a delicious wine.
- I like the half stainless steel, half oak barrel way of producing Chardonnay. It gives the wines the best of both worlds feel.
- The label may not be as scary as the wine’s name would suggest, but this Freakshow will do your Halloween party proud.