Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wine Review: Mossback Russian River Valley 2014 Chardonnay

November is Matchbook Wine Company Month on!

Mossback Russian River Valley 2014 Chardonnay

Mossback is an old nickname for a farmer. The wine is Matchbook Wine Company's label for their stuff out of California's Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill and their surrounding Central Coast. You can read all about Matchbook's great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

This being a 2014 vintage, and it currently being November of 2015, I was expecting this to be an unoaked Chardonnay so I was leery of this wine being another one of those Chardonnay-that-tastes-like-Sauvignon-Blanc disasters. Buuuuut... 34% of it was BARREL FERMENTED while the rest was cold fermented in stainless steel, so I'm hoping for good results! If there's one thing I won't stand for, it's Chardonnay that might as well be a Sauvignon Blanc. Zero tolerance.

So we know it wasn't aged in oak but some of it was barrel fermented. Here's some other stats for ya: It's entirely made from Chardonnay; there are no other blended varieties. The grapes are from two vineyards within Russian River (62% Aquarius Vineyard, 26% Balletto Vineyard), and there's even a legal amount from outside of Russian River: Dunnigan Hills (12% Matchbook Vineyard). The alcohol is 13.9% ABV.

Nathan Explosion - Dethklok
The label looks like one of those leather patches that shows the brand of denim jeans. Just looking at the package makes me feel like I should be listening to country music while drinking it. Ugh. I absolutely refuse to do anything of the sort. Seriously, I'd rather be disemboweled by an eagle every day like Prometheus. So I'm blasting Norwegian death metal on Pandora with the TV set to hockey. I am so not "country". But I digress...

The first thing I notice is a little smokiness and muskiness. That's a good sign! I don't know how much lees contact this wine saw, but in my experience that's usually what makes a good unoaked Chardonnay still feel like a Chardonnay (other than malolactic fermentation)... and I'm immediately aware that this is a Chardonnay.

There's other aromas of pineapple, clementine aaaannnd.... I want to say a really big, fluffy flower. Hydrangea? I'm really not sure but it's a very specific floral aroma that reminds me of one of those larger, spring bouquets.

It's got a nice, hefty body weight and an impressive roundness in the mouth. I get flavors of yellow pear, apple sauce, and honeydew melon. The finish is the only point where you get any indication of acidity, which is great for food. It makes you wanna take another bite of whatever you're eating. In my case that would be my daughter's Halloween candy. What? She's five! She can't eat all of that! But she'll sure as hell try! Only parents understand this plight.

One thing I pride myself with on this blog, and in general, is my honesty in my opinion. It's probably done me more harm than good in life, but whatever. So, to be honest, I've actually had this wine before at work. I believe it was the 2012 vintage and I didn't like it at all. My notes went like this: "Just another mass appeal Chardonnay lost in the woods". Yeah, that IS pretty brutal.

This 2014 vintage, however, completely changes my mind on how I feel about Mossback's Chardonnay. It's nice and I enjoyed it. I won't think "Oh Matchbook, I love you so... but why this?" when I see it. But the problem is how I do my ratings and you have to stay true to your system, right? It'll cost your wallet $18 and for that price I give it a 3.5 out of 5, right between Satisfying and Recommended.

Price: $18
Rating: 3.5/5 = Satisfying / Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link


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