Includes an explanation of Sur Lie.
100% Chardonnay from Lodi, California.
Sample submitted for review. SRP of $11 and available widely for $10.
From the bottle:
"Morro Bay is proudly Lodi Rules Certified. Lodi Rules incorporates a wide range of sustainable practices not only for grape growing but also for the surrounding ecosystems. These practices include the use of solar power, recycling all paper/glass/water & wildlife habitat restoration among many other green initiatives.
Morro Bay, a historic fishing village located between Santa Barbara and Monterey, is the inspiration for this finely crafted Chardonnay. Made using the classic Burgundian "Sur Lie" method, aged 7 months, and incorporating French and American oak yields a supple well balanced Chardonnay suited to a wide variety of cuisines.
The "Sur Lie" in the name of today's wine translates as "on the lees", but what are lees exactly? Basically it's the sediment at the bottom of a container -- for wine this includes the grape skins, seeds, pulp, stem fragments, etc. Sur Lie is a traditional technique where the juice is kept in contact with the lees. When the lees settle to the bottom they are then occasionally lifted and stirred into the wine. This is done to enhance the complexity and mouthfeel of a wine but it is very labor intensive as it can take up to a year to get the desired effect. (Six months for today's wine.) And when your wine only costs $10, this isn't necessarily a common procedure. Let's find out what kind of wine this method produces.
My first impression upon smelling the 2010 Morro Bay Split Oak Estates Sur Lie Chardonnay was that I might be dealing with what I call a "State Fair Chardonnay", or one that has the unmistakable aroma of buttered corn (not my favorite style). Once poured though those aromas dissipate and as it turns out, this wine is much more neutral when tasting and actually quite delicious! The wine tastes creamy, but still crisp, and features tropical fruit, vanilla and just a little oak. It finishes nicely with creamy lemon notes and pineapple with just a tiny bit of toasty oak at the very end. A really nice, solid and fairly neutral Chardonnay.
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.