(img via http://weeklywinejournal.files.wordpress.com/)
What do you think of when you imagine a cupcake? Something sweet, rich, creamy? Maybe a bit of sprinkles on top, adding a textural dimension or additional flavor to the overall taste? I bet the association is a positive one, because it's hard not to like cupcakes. I'm rambling on because I figure this is about as close to a perfect marriage of label name and wine style as we're likely to see.
Cupcake Vineyards makes a bunch of wine. By "a bunch", I mean 14 different wines are listed for sale on their website. I was sent two to review, a Sauvignon Blanc and this Chardonnay (100,000 cases produced). Hopefully they send me some reds to review soon.
The 2009 Cupcake Vineyards Central Coast Chardonnay is textbook California. From it's pale-straw color in the glass to the buttery, apple and pear scented notes wafting out of the glass, this is the juice that put California Chardonnay on the map. While there has been the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement over the past five or six years, sales of this style continue to grow.
I freely admit to disliking overly oaky, buttered up Chardonnays, regardless of where they're from. I can see people rolling their eyes at this, because that's a trendy thing to say right now. Still, I'm sticking to my guns because I feel that those Chardonnays are not indicitative of terroir.
Back to the Cupcake, which embraces the traditional California style to the hilt. Rich and creamy as it washes across your palate. Given it's $14 SRP, I couldn't help but be impressed by the quality of the fruit used. I loved the pineapple and passion fruit dance as the wine finished, a good foil to the ripe buttery wallop of cream that smacks you in the face on your first sip. Still, if you don't like buttery chardonnay, this probably won't be for you. Loads of butter cream intertwined with oak all the way through, no way around that.
I like the quality, the fruit is well sourced and the winemaker knew what he was doing. I'll reiterate, this is textbook California Chardonnay that delivers above it's price point. A quick google search brought up prices from $7-$14, quite the range. Wine Spectator loved the 2009 Cupcake, giving it an 88 points. Me? Not quite that exuberant, but I'm no Jim Laube. I give this a B-, or 83 points for those more accustomed to numerical values. Above average quality, well made wine but for me at least, too much butter and oak. More information on the 2009 Cupcake Chardonnay is available here.
This wine was a sample for review purposes