Sextant 2009 Chardonnay - 6 Pack
$59.99 + $5 shipping
PRODUCT: 6 2009 Sextant Chardonnay
Just when I think I can pull a tosh.0 and claim first, someone named Caesar steals the show. If I was that quick, I would have single handedly willed the Cowboys to win today.
Last night we enjoyed their Zin we bought on Woot. Hopefully this will be as good…
Wow – a Golden Ticket . . . . Dreams really do come true!
After getting the email alert & the FedEx phone call, I was on pins & needles waiting for the arrival of the elixir of the gods . . . And, when it arrived on my doorstep, I was not disappointed – the 2009 Sextant Central Coast Chardonnay. I’ve been following Sextant’s offerings, and because of summer heat issues, I had opted out of the last two. And then I was in Paso Robles in September, mid-week after Labor Day, and their Paso tasting room wasn’t open during the week – Yikes, very sad.
After tasting many above-average Paso, Sta. Rita, Monterrey & Central Coast Chardonnays while we were out there, I was thrilled to see Sextant’s Chardonnay in the box – and we were not disappointed.
A few notes – I do like Chardonnays – I like steely, flinty crisp Chablis style Chardonnays, and I like round, rich creamy California Chardonnays. They are different treatments of the same grape, yet each with their own emphasis and effect and place in a wine portfolio. I don’t like Chardonnays that are so crisp that they lose any roundness or hints of rich white fruits, and I don’t like Chardonnays that are overly oaked or so creamy/buttery that they are cloying. So, with that being said . . . . here we go . . . .
Opening the 2009 Sextant Central Coast Chardonnay – temp is about 55 - 56’ – Color is beautiful golden straw color – very clear, yet a hue with depth. Nose on opening – creamy butter with tropical fruit. As you swirl, the fruit becomes much more prominent & the white peachiness comes out.
First sips – first reaction – very round, no sharpness on the palate, but no overt creaminess or cloying on the finish. Tastes like a mature Chardonnay – doesn’t need any holding time to balance out the palate – well rounded and balanced comes up in a couple of people’s notes. No noticeable oak on the nose or the palate.
The palate begins to open up a bit as we drink the first glass without food – descriptions include stone fruit, with hints of citrus and “not quite ripe” nectarine & mandarin orange. You really get the fruitiness with just a hint of “greeness” or “citrus” depending upon how your palate picks up the acidity. As the glass warms up closer to room temperature, the hints of honeysuckle, maybe ripe honeydew melon, start to come through. The creaminess and buttery aroma are more pronounced as it warms up.
Second glass was an hour or so later, after being held back in the 55’ cooler, with food. Served with roasted chicken, zucchini, red potatoes – nothing particularly fatty or spicy. The acidity in the wine came out & made a significant change on the finish. Became much more of a food wine than we expected, and provided a nice acidic, almost crisp, palate cleanser with each sip. Didn’t really expect that. I guess that’s where the lack of oak really comes across.
This is a nice lightly rounded Chardonnay – it’s not crisp by any standard, but yet it does play nicely with food. Similarly, it’s not a big oaky, buttery Cali Chard, yet it is round and smooth with a silky mouth-feel. The stainless steel tanks definitely make a difference with this one. I think if it had been fully oaked, it would have been over the top; but the balance of the ML fermentation against the stainless steel (and only 10% oak) allowed the richness of the grape to shine through without overwhelming it with the vanilla oakiness that too frequently disguises the characteristics of the grape.
Overall – Easy to drink without food or with a nice light dinner. I think it would be a nice wine to take to a party when you’re not sure what’s being served or don’t want to offend – or similarly, a nice wine to serve as an opening aperitif or with heavy appetizers. Could mend the stand-off between crisp SB or Pinot Grigio drinkers and the round creamy Chardonnay and floral Viognier fans. I think I preferred it without food and a bit on the cooler side. Depending upon the price point and the offering, we’re in for at least one.
Kudos to the winemakers & hope to visit next time we’re out that way.
Many thanks to WineDavid & all of Wine.Woot – and to all of you fellow Wooters, Cheers!
Now, off to bed . . . my work here is done.
Courtesy of CJ:
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When was this really bottled(not June 2009) and what exactly does minimal oak mean?
Woohoo! The gods do listen! Thanks!
Got one of these in a club shipment a while back. Brought it to a dinner party and everyone was impressed at its finesse. “Just the right amount” of oak is absolutely right. I feel as though it’s just enough to round it out to offer an added layer of complexity, but the fruits still come through strong enough to keep it food-friendly. Went wonderfully with a shrimp & pesto pasta.
Next- can we please have the Viognier?
Two good questions that I’d like to know the response. Bravo
Woohoo! Maryland!! I’m buying this just because I can!
Re: minimally oaked - per their website, it said 10% oak & 90 % stainless steel tankage.
I did not get any hints of typical oakiness – no vanilla, no toastiness, etc., but I could tell it wasn’t the typically minerally crisp unoaked or truly naked Chardonnay.
I would imagine the bottling date was a typo - probably June 2010.
Lab Rat Report… Not!
My first post was supposed to coincide with my being a first time rat. I received an email that I was selected 9/29. Instantly had a bad feeling about it. Bad feeling turned out to be true. Friday came and went - no wine. I called FedEx. They told me something about planes being diverted and package not being delivered until today. So, here I am, first time rat with nothing to report. Yes, I am feeling sorry for myself.
Well, not much of a white wine drinker anyways. Will report once the bottle arrives.
The 09 CCC was bottled on August 1, 2010. [Nice catch!] It was aged for 9 months in 90% stainless steel, 10% neutral french oak. The grapes are actually sourced from the Sarmento Vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey, in addition to our MacGergor Vineyards in Edna Valley- making it a very balanced and delicious chardonnay. There are aromas of honeydew melons and a finish of butter cream goodness! Very easy to drink!
What an excellent rat report. So nice to read a report where one has command of the English language and I didn’t have to press “1” to get it right! Well done…it pushed me over the edge to click the stupidly large yellow button.
I opened a bottle of this chard a couple of weeks ago and drank some with a warm shrimp & arugula salad. A nice, balanced, easy-drinker; good fruit, good mouthfeel and a decent finish.
Much like Pinot, I struggle with the sub-$20 chardonnay category. Many of them just taste yucky… too much oak… flabby… (using too much seasoning to hide the bad fruit…)
This bottle shines in comparison to many at the same price point: quality fruit and subtle winemaking result in a tasty glass for a great price. At today’s Woot price, it’s a steal.
To add…we only sale it by the case here at the winery! Great deal!
Let’s just call this a Late Rat report, because my Golden Ticket spent the weekend lounging around the FedEx warehouse in Newark before making its very leisurely way to Manhattan via the Bronx. [I see that I’m not the only Lab Rat to receive the wine late] The Sextant 2009 Central Coast Chardonnay finally came into my hands at 11:30 this morning, so these are just a few notes on the fly. Not as exhaustive a tasting as I’d like, but I do have to get some work done today!
12:20 After 45 minutes in the freezer I popped the cork–real cork, not screwcap and not synthetic–and took a whiff. Light yeasty aroma, which quickly dissipated. Poured a bit, swirled, and slurped. Good acidity, a bit of oak (I’m not a fan of oak) but quickly replaced by strawberry (yes, this is a white!) and litchee. I’m already thinking white sangria, even though it’s 56F out.
Studying the label in vain for alcohol content, but it feels robust–13%? Hmm, website says 13.6, which means that I’ll have to hold off till after an appointment where I need to be alert. [Oops! Later I notice the teeny tiny print that says 14.2%–don’t think I’ve ever knowingly had that alcoholic a white]
3:10 Didn’t quite know what to eat with this. The bottle suggests that it “pairs well with lighter fare”, which ruled out the Memphis style ribs I was in the mood for. I went with sushi, even though it really didn’t seem like the ideal partner. The richer varieties worked better, but still not a match made in heaven. Tried it with some buttery, tangy 12-month Dubliner Irish cheddar, but the oak kept fighting it. Looks like my original fruit plan is the way to go.
3:30 Threw in a slice of orange, a couple of chunks of peach, and a wedge of mango. Bingo! The oak is instantly tamed and all the fruit flavors are enhanced, even more so when I add a few drops of Joseph Carton creme de cassis, which takes on more vivid flavor than usual. Inspired, I mixed up a kir, which was awesome! Is this like Bourgogne Aligote, the standard kir white wine?
Taking another sip of the unadorned wine, I have the feeling that this is a better Chardonnay than I can taste today. Not terribly complex, but well-structured; dry with good body and decent acidity. As a Sauvignon Blanc drinker I found this a bit too oaked for me, but it’s more that on this particular day white wine just doesn’t taste good, which happens once in a while–seems to be partly a question of whatever’s going on with my body chemistry. (I had a sip of the open bottle of Marlborough SB in the fridge to verify) Anyone else ever experience that? This could be in part because the abrupt shift to fall weather. Today I want to be washing down boeuf bourgignon with a simple cab blend (yes I know it should be PN, too bad).
If it were still summer I’d Woot this in a heartbeat. But as I’m not planning much sangria quaffing in the next few months, I’ll be giving this a pass. Hope this is helpful to those still on the fence. Texas is still looking pretty warm…
…speaking of the winery, how are things going with the new winery & tasting room in Paso Robles on West Highway 46?
The new Estate Winery and Hospitality Center is scheduled to open Spring of 2012. We had originally anticipated a Fall 2011 move in date, but we are redefining a few new exciting additions which has pushed that date back. We will be located on the 46 West next to Niner and Grey Wolf.