It may be axiomatic that wine’s true partner is food, but sometimes it can get along just fine on its own. On a soft evening in early September, while I was sitting in the garden feeling the last heat of the sun, a plush Chardonnay delivered plenty of pleasure, and somehow tasted like an Indian summer in the glass.
Coincidentally, the wine’s name was Indian Wells, a Washington bottling ($18 at retail) from Chateau Ste. Michelle named for one of the vineyards that provided its fruit. Most of the grapes were sourced from the Wahluke Slope AVA, which is located north of Yakima Valley. It’s one of the state’s warmest growing regions, and so yields ripe grapes that produce round, opulent wines. The winemaking emphasizes this character, using fermentation in American oak barrels, full malolactic fermentation and seven months of oak aging to create a round, rich wine. I found the 2007 lush on the palate, with round flavors of pear and butterscotch that lingered on the finish soft as a golden sunset; 89 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay Columbia Valley Indian Wells 2007 (88, $18).
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