Sunday, May 1, 2011

Clos La Chance Wines

I am embarrassed to say that I am only now getting around to publishing reviews for these wine which were sent to me as samples last April and which were written up at the beginning of last summer. My reluctance in publishing these stems not just from the fact that the ratings I gave the wines do not match the experience I've had with bottlings from this winery in the past, but also the fact that these were actively solicited.


You see, I had read that Clos La Chance was taking it on the chin in the marketplace.   Trader Joe's was blowing their stuff out at pennies on the dollar and I thought, hey, these guys deserve better.  So, I reached out asking for samples, reviewed them, then sat on the reviews without communicating for an entire sales cycle. That is a breach of the implicit trust contract that is both incredibly important and elusive in this writing business.  Mea culpa.  I have apologized to the winery and no longer solicit samples for this very reason.

That backdrop may sound foreboding, but there are some wines in this portfolio that are worth taking home next time you see them - especially the Merlot and Zin.  Notes are in the order in which the wines were tasted and prices are SRP, though you're likely to find them for less.  There was a turning point - for the better - after the first half of wines were tasted as the second half of the wines represent a significantly better showing than the first half...


2008 Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc 'White-Tufted Sunbeam' $15
True Sauvignon Blanc fruit with prominent, almost tart, citrus acids hinting at a deliberately French style.  Refreshing on a warm evening, but needing some kind of food to offset the mouth pucker factor.  Sustainably farmed.
3/5

2009 Monterey County Chardonnay 'Glitter-Throated Emerald' $15
Fruity nose with spicy Caribbean fruit cocktail aromatics.  Like the Sauvignon Blanc, it has an acidic attack.  Somewhat shy on body with no oak flavors in sight - not your typical Cali Chard.  Mid-palate is bracing and fast.  In contrast to the beginning and middle, it finished with clean, true-Chardonnay character.
3/5

2006 Central Coast Syrah 'Black-Chinned' $18
I'm really struggling to to find something nice to say about these wines.  This Syrah is, well, indistinct.  To be fair, there's nothing outwardly offensive about it, but it's just average in every way - color, body, depth, flavor, and finish. 
3.5/5

2007 Central Coast Merlot 'Violet-Crowned' $18
Finally!  When an athlete walks into a room you know it.  Not because they are necessarily recognizable, but because they have that look.  The clear eyes, the healthy skin that you just know produces copious quantities of sweat daily, and that confident gait.  This wine is an athlete.  Nothing subtle, light, pleasant and right down the middle text book example of this varietal - what Merlot became known for.  Great color, very luxurious looking, structured, and well proportioned.  Not like some of the powerhouse Merlots we've had recently, but this isn't going to break the bank, either.  Heck, I could put a bottle of this away without complaint - or hesitation. 
4/5

2007 Zinfandel 'Buff-Bellied' $18
Pretty translucent ruby color and an attractive, spicy nose.  Light-medium bodied, long finish with good, even oak, spice, cedar, and pepper.  A great pizza/pasta wine.  Not a shred of complexity and not the least bit shy because of it.
4/5

2007 Meritage 'Crimson Topaz' $18
This wine can't be Cabernet-dominated.  It's got a fantastic nose, medium-bodied.  The aromatics lead you in with big expectations, but then the flavors hit a dimension ceiling a little early and the mouth doesn't really follow through on the nose.  Happy companion to lightly sauced pasta with meat, but like the Syrah, it fails to thrive.
3/5

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