Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You may have to spend some money

"What wine did it for you?" Rochioli.

2007 Rochioli Russian River valley chardonnay.

Tasting notes, in sum: Wow.

Is it any use to scribble down "bananas, roses, vanilla, cream -- no more burnt popcorn" or, "rich, prob. what everybody raves about in chards," or, more to the point, "the first chardonnay I have ever liked"? Is it any use to think again and scribble down, "no, strawberries in cream -- acidity, too"?

Or how about, "yes, the glass makes a difference -- voluptuous in big, thin crystal, harsh and thick in a Libbey."

Oh, and this addendum: retail, about $45. On the close-out shelf, still $16.

The beauty of spending this kind of money on a bottle of wine is that, besides the outlay getting you a very pleasurable experience, it will also give you a small foundation for understanding what more yeoman products are trying to be. If you've been disappointed by chardonnays which taste roughly like a piece of banana-and-vanilla-syrup candy picked up from your basement's cement floor -- really, what is that harshness? Oak chips? Burnt popcorn? -- then Rochioli, or wines of its class, will help clarify matters.

And, how curious that with just one revelatory purchase, we fall naturally into the old fashioned habit of discussing wines in terms of nobility and commonness. Fruit basket metaphors only take us so far.

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery, Healdsburg, CA (Sonoma County)

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