Chardonnay as a (sort of) Cold Medicine

The Backstory:

This week has been an absolute hell of being not healthy for me. I overworked my body playing in the sun all weekend and developed a stomach bug in the process. Combining an exhausted me with an aggressive microbe leads to decidedly unfortunate consequences. I finally recovered enough last night to uncork and really enjoy a wine again. Since my experience with tasting food and drink was like drinking stale milk and chewing paper for 3 straight days, I needed something with enough oomph to knock my palate around and bring me back to life. Unfortunately, after that one glorious night of getting a taste of wine, I’m back under the weather with yet another ailment. This one’s got the nose and throat on lockdown, so it looks like last night’s affair will have to get me through the week.

What’s the 2009 Gouguenheim Valle Escondido Chardonnay got for me in regards to helping me get back on the wine-tasting horse? It comes from the Mendoza Valley, specifically the colder area that rests above 1000 m.a.s.l. (meters above sea level). This area is particularly kind to the noble grapes and Malbec, leading to a rapid growth of wineries in the area. The propensity for high acidity in this region combined with the proven quality of the plantings here means you can expect a fuller, better developed white wine. Is it enough to suit my convalescent palate? You bet your stemless Bordeaux glass, it is.

The Results:

2009 Gouguenheim Chardonnay bottleThe appearance of the wine is a light gold color with a noticeable depth. It appears to have a medium texture, not syrupy but substantial.

The nose of the wine is rather rustic; it has a very orchard-y smell, consisting primarily of ripe apples, pear cider, and peach for the fruit combined with a light floral scent.

The mouth feel of the wine is actually fairly delicate. It’s medium-bodied, but its texture feels lighter and more airy as it moves about the mouth.

The flavor of the wine is what stands out the most. It is very dry, but it has a very full fruit flavor. The attack is heavy ripe apples and pineapple, and you can easily detect the decent alcohol (13%) and high acidity. The acidity is prominently featured in the flavor, and it would simply overwhelm the wine if the flavors weren’t so expressive and it didn’t have that touch of sweetness. There’s a distinct hint of honeysuckle and buttery cheese, a pleasant diversion from the usual orchard fruits I was expecting, and a medium peach finish. As it stands, the only knock I have against this wine is it’s just a little imbalanced… too much alcohol heat and acidity for the flavor. If it weren’t so robust, it would utterly fall apart.

The Conclusion:

Coming out of a sickness that impacted my ability to taste, this was a fantastic wine to bring be back from the brink. With a lively acidity, full, robust flavor, and enough sweetness to match the aggressiveness, it makes for a great under-$10 white wine. 6/10

Note: this wine was provided by the distributor as a sample.

Bonus wine-pairing:

Coma Therapy by Strata. A normally hard-rock-styled band with a vocalist who has some serious pipes tones it down just enough to make an edgy, ominous ballad. A wine with a serious kick and acidity tempers the aggressiveness with some sweetness and cool flavors. Enjoy!

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