As we stated in our Report # 10 on Unoaked Chardonnay, it’s a lot more difficult to make a good unoaked Chardonnay than it is an oaked one. Oaking adds complexity to Chardonnay and can mask or compensate for defects in the fruit. Unoaked Chardonnay, on the other hand, is naked. While giving it extended time on the lees can clothe it in flavor, softness, and complexity, the quality of the fruit is more transparent in an unoaked wine. For that reason, we’re especially thrilled when we come across a very well made, unoaked Chardonnay like the Morgan Metallico that we reviewed in our recent article on the new releases of Morgan Winery in California’s Monterey County. Not only is this wine excellent quality, it’s also a great value. The fruit for Metalico comes from both the cool Santa Lucia Highlands and the warmer Arroyo Seco AVAs. After whole-cluster pressing, the juice is cold tank fermented. It doesn’t go through malo, so the bright natural acidity of the fruit is preserved.
Our tasting note follows below.
Morgan 2011 Metallico Monterey ($21) 91
This offering is a great example of pure Chardonnay without oak or malolactic fermentation. It is rich tasting with delicious melon fruit flavors, medium weight, good balance, freshness, acidity and a fine finish. One of California’s finest un-oaked Chardonnays.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler