Thursday, May 26, 2011

Black Hills Chard

I've said more than a couple of times in this blog that I'm not usually one to reach for a Chardonnay. I'm hardly ABC (Anything But Chardonnay), but it just doesn't tend to hit the right notes with me as regularly as some of the other white varietals. That being said, Boo and I have quite enjoyed a couple of BC Chardy's during these playoff wine series. Both the Red Rooster and the Sandhill Small Lots had us quickly going back for more.

I figured that might bode well for pulling the cork on another BC Chard.

812. 2007 Black Hills Chardonnay (VQA Okanagan Valley)

When the topic of Black Hills wine is raised, first reference is generally made, of course, to Nota Bene - the winery's Bordeaux/Meritage blend and its cult-like status. When it comes to white wines, I think the winery is best know for its white Meritage, Alibi. The entry into producing Chardonnay was much later to come.

Indeed, this 2007 bottle is only from Black Hill's second vintage of Chardy - and, at that, only 498 cases were produced. When I saw a few bottles in one of the private wine shops, I quickly grabbed one since I hadn't tried it before and I was a fairly early fan of Senka Tennant, one of the original owners and winemaker for what was then a fledgling Black Hills. She may no longer be with the winery, but I believe the 2007 vintage was the last year for her full involvement. As winery ownership went to syndication and operations expanded, some of the winery's original lustre has worn off for me, but the winery is still in full charge of the fundamentals of good wine making. So, I expected this to be a darned good wine.

Neither Boo nor I were disappointed. Black Hills still makes a sound wine with all the right elements being there. If the praise sounds perhaps a little faint, it probably is. We both found the wine to be a bit heavy on the oak - nothing wrong with oak and Chardonnay - and this wasn't even an over-bearing oak monster, but I just found the oak to be more noticeable than I like it to be.

Most of the reviews I saw on the wine praised its sweet tropical fruits and honey, but, to be honest, I found those attributes to be more prevalent in the Red Rooster and Sandhill wines we tried. It might just be that this bottle was a 2007 and some of the early fruit has faded. That would be a shame because I doubt that I'd quickly reach for another bottle - particularly at $30 a bottle. I may just have to continue thinking of Alibi when it comes to Black Hills whites.

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