Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Parducci Small Lot Blend Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

I've written about Parducci wines frequently over the last year and the wines have generally been very good, in some cases excellent, and always a great value. You can read my past blogs about Parducci and see what I mean. Recently I was sent two more bottles to sample, the new "Small Lot Blend" series. Both the chardonnay and pinot noir are priced with an eye towards by-the-glass placement in restaurants and wine bars, their respective srp's being $11.00 and $12.00. That said, they are also both available at retail locations as evidenced by my wine-searcher.com query.

The pinot noir is 100% pinot, aged for eight months (assuming that's in oak), and produced in large quantities - 20,000 cases. The chardonnay on the other hand was subject to a neutral-wood and stainless steel regimen, along with 5% barrel fermentation. It was produced in much small quantities, only 6,620 cases. Depending on your perspective, these wines could be seen as large production or small production, but I looked forward to tasting them and seeing if Parducci had continued its run of great quality wines at bargain prices.

2010 Parducci Small Lot Blend Chardonnay Mendocino County: A very pale chardonnay, I'd liken it to a New Zealand sauvignon blanc in color. Aromatically I get a lot of sweet apple and pear notes, some buttery pastry-crust too, and maybe the barest hint of a mineral component. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with vibrant acidity at the edges of my tongue that restrain the pastry-crust note, providing balance and texture. Just like on the nose, that ripe golden apple comes through along with an easygoing dollop of fresh stone fruit. A light, airy finish ends the Parducci on a pleasant note. Overall I think this is a wonderfully food-friendly wine and it nails the by-the-glass intent that Parducci had when creating this line. I would gladly drink this chardonnay over many higher-priced examples for it's lightness and balance. 13.5% abv. $11 suggested retail price.

2010 Parducci Small Lot Blend Pinot Noir Mendocino County: I like the color here, it's a beautifully vibrant Burgundy that mellows out to ruby-red towards the edges of the glass. The bouquet is a nice mix of vanilla, cedar, baking spice, and a core of prominent black cherry-plum mixture. At only $12, the complexity level is unusually high. A sip brings out very ripe red fruits backed up by a firm acid streak supported by subtle oak before the mildly tannic finish cleans things up. The core fruit flavors of sweet cherries and plums are welcomed, where they form a very sippable pinot noir. This is light-bodied, fun, and still possess enough intensity to stand up to salmon and even some red meat. I often lament cheap pinot noir, but this deliver above the price point. 14.0% abv. $12 suggested retail price.

Over the course of two days, both wines showed very well considering their price. The chardonnay maintained a light, uplifting feel and the pinot held on to the firm acid and fruit notes that made it so pleasurable in the first place. I guess you could say that Parducci passed the test once again with their Small Lot Blend wines.. If you see these wines on a list somewhere, it's safe to order them and know that you're getting a good quality wine that will pair with a wide range of foods.

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With that, my first Parducci wines of 2012 were a big hit and I look forward to bringing you more of their bottlings over the next 12 months. Hopefully this year they sample me on the more expensive stuff too! Thanks as always for reading.

These wines were media samples for review purposes.

Beau Carufel

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