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The American Wine Blog Awards, Unoaked Chard and What She Said

Monday marked the announcement of the winners of the 2008 American Wine Blog Award winners.

Thanks to all who voted for this site in the Best Graphics and Best Wine Business Blog categories. And, likewise, congrats to all finalists and those that took top prize.

Amongst the winners was Good Wine Under $20 by Dr. Debs, taking the winners circle for two categories—Best Wine Reviewing Blog and Best Single Subject Blog.

This is a fantastic and very meritorious victory and happens to coincide with the reason for this post. 

I was going to write a review of the 2006 Toad Hollow Chardonnay and quickly realized that Dr. Debs already did one late last summer for a Wine Blogging Wednesday theme around unoaked chardonnay. Our notes are similar, so let’s take a second, congratulate her for her win in the awards, slap the other winners on the back and also give a tip of the cap to Tom for organizing the whole thing.

For my money, Dr. Debs does the best job of writing accessibly with warmth and verve.  So, my review is, “Yeah, what she said.”  Excerpt from the Good Wine Under $20 review found here:

I wanted to drink something local and historic for this month’s event, and so my choice was easy: the 2006 Toad Hollow Francine’s Selection Chardonnay from the Mendocino County AVA ($13 direct from the winery’s tasting room in beautiful downtown Healdsburg). Toad Hollow founders Todd Williams and Rodney Strong saw that the future of chardonnay was unoaked back in 1993, when everyone else was making oak chip tea bags and going for new American barrels. The Mendocino County fruit that provides 90% of the grapes for this wine helps to keep it focused, and provides enough acidity to provide a good structure for the fruit. That’s because the swings between warm days and cool nights in Mendocino County helps to keep the fruit from over-ripening. The remaining 10% of the juice comes from Sonoma County.

I found the 2006 Toad Hollow Francine’s Selection to be a fresh and lively unoaked chardonnay, that smelled of golden delicious apples. Soft and food-friendly, there were apple and citrus flavors that were never harsh or acidic because the juice underwent 100% malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks and was left on its lees for 8 months. The result was a wine that had a full-bodied mouthfeel without the oakiness. At 13.7% alc/vol, I was surprised to get a little bit of alcoholic heat in the aromas and a bit of afterburn in the finish. This is a new release, and I wonder if the wine still needs to settle down a bit. What will it be with 6-9 months of bottle age, because giving it a little time to open up really diminished the alcoholic sensation? Very good QPR for a wine that was easy to drink and easy to pair with food.

The Good Grape wine review for the 2006 Toad Hollow Francine’s Selection Chardonnay can be found here.


Posted in, Good Grape Wine Reviews. Permalink | Comments (2) |


On 04/01, Dale Cruse wrote:

And happy April Fool’s to you too!

On 04/02, Dr. Debs wrote:

Thanks, Jeff. I’m sad to see the heat was still there, but I’m glad that you agreed it was quite the value. I agree with your note about how this wine had more dimension and complexity than most nationally distributed $13 chards! I couldn’t agree more (and think its actually better than most nationally distributed $20 chards…)


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