Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay 2008- Extreme value at $11.95
November 9, 2010 Daily Drinkers
Call it daily drinker week on Nickel and Dime Wine. First it was yesterday’s $9 Malbec and today we have a fantastic Chardonnay for $12. With hundreds of California Chardonnays in the $10-15 price range, how do you choose a good one? Well this is a good place to start (duh). Seriously, if you’re going to a dinner party or just in the store looking for a good bottle of California Chardonnay without spending a ton, here are 3 simple rules that should help you come out with a winner.
1. Look for these appellation designations on the label: Santa Barbara County (Santa Rita Hills, Santa Maria Valley), Sonoma (Russian River Valley), Monterey (Santa Lucia Highlands) and Carneros. Those are the best places to grow Chardonnay grapes in this great, bankrupt state. If the label says “estate” it scores even more bonus points because this means the grapes were grown by the winery and never left the site until after the wine was bottled.
2. Avoid generic bottlings that are only designated with “California” or “North Coast”. Often times this means that the winery is buying grapes from all over the place with little quality control, and possibly from vineyards where they measure success in pounds rather than quality. Good values can definitely be found with these non-appellation wines, but you better know what you’re looking for. “Central Coast” gets a pass on this one because many of the great Chardonnay appellations lie in the Central Coast.
3. Look at the score. If you’ve never tasted a particular wine before, the score is a great place to start. Just beware of wine shops that try to pass their own scores off as professional. News flash- they might be a little bias… Wine Advocate (a.k.a. Robert Parker, RP or WA), International Wine Cellar (a.k.a. Stephen Tanzer, ST or IWC), and Wine Spectator (a.k.a. WS) are the most reliable.
So following these simple rules how does the Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay come out? Pretty well of course. Otherwise I wouldn’t have written the article this way! 1.) It’s from Monterrey with bonus points for being from the sub appellation of Santa Lucia Highlands and the word “estate” on the label. 2.) No generic “California” label and 3.) it scored 87 points from Robert Parker, a good score for such a reasonably priced wine.
Beyond all of those great factors, the wine tastes great with an alluring nose, a nice, sweet ripeness and a round, full mouthfeel. For $12, I can’t think of a better value.
Buy Here: 2008 Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay $11.95
Wine Advocate 87 points
“Take, for example, the 2008 Chardonnay Kali Hart. It displays loads of poached pear, pineapple, and honey in an impressively perfumed bouquet. In the mouth, it is soft, fleshy, and medium-bodied, with just enough acidity to give it balance. It is a fruity, consumer-friendly style of Chardonnay to drink over the next year.
This is the most impressive lineup of wines I have seen from Talbott in a number of years. Their less expensive second label is a noteworthy value.”