I have to admit a certain prejudice against Chilean Chardonnays. While I have been impressed by the growing quality of the South American nation's Sauvignon Blancs (see one of my earlier picks), in the past, Chilean Chardonnays have been too often to my taste overoaked and thin on primary fruit flavors. But determined to open my horizons, I tried a Chardonnay from one of my colleague James Molesworth's well-rated Chilean producers, Casa Lapostolle.
The Cuvée Alexandre, sourced from grapes grown in the cool-climate Casablanca Valley, was a revelation. I think I will stock up on some for the warm summer months that hopefully lie soon ahead. It showed a rich nose of honeysuckle and cream, with flavors of ripe apricot, spice and lemon curd. It had a very rich mouthfeel, with a long finish of crème brûlée and hints of white chocolate. A gloriously seductive, unctuous and exotic white.
For the cuvée, 85 percent of the wine was barrel fermented for 10 months in a combination of new and used French oak barrels, with the lees stirred twice a month; this is no doubt the source of the intense creaminess. The remaining 15 percent was fermented in stainless steel to accentuate the fresh fruit flavors. The winemaking techniques were a winning combination; I rated the wine 92 points, non-blind, and it's a bargain at $24 a bottle.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Casa Lapostolle Chardonnay Casablanca Valley Cuvée Alexandre Atalayas Vineyard 2007 (91, $24)