I first tried a previous vintage of the Kunde Family Estates Chardonnay from the Sonoma Valley about three or four years ago. A Quebec based agency was trying to bring into the province, I can’t remember if they were aiming for Private Import or for placement on store shelves. I was really blown away by the taste and value back then, and upon tasting this bottle that I sourced while travelling in Arizona I was happy to say my memory was spot on. Why this wine hasn’t made it onto the shelves of the Societe des Alcools du Quebec is a mystery to me.
On the Nose: Embers and Macintosh apples are the best way to describe it. Not too strong on the fruit and the subtle wood is cleaner than smoke. Very refined for a ten dollar wine, and not something you will call signature California.
On the Gulp: It has a long list of components that prod your mouth. If this was a rock group, it would be a hipster collective – nothing taking the lead, and all parts are made to feel they contribute equally. From the hop you have acid, mellow apple that tastes more Granny Smith than it smelled Macintosh, you have minerality, clean oak and some pepper on the end. Not much residual sugar to talk of. Again not signature California. I would have guessed New Zealand or Patagonia as place of origin.
I think this wine is a fantastic bang for the buck, it offers great value as beverage or served alongside any chardonnay appropriate meal. I think that the only quibble I could imagine is that the Kunde Sonoma Valley Chardonnay may not show a typical profile of the wines comprised in critical mass of Sonoma Chardonnays that I get access to from the SAQ. Rest assured it is clean, approachable and satisfying. I call this wine a hit!
Musical Match: Mumford and Sons are the most famous cross over British Blue Grass band ever I reckon. Now British and Blue Grass are not often associated, but Mumford and Sons gets it just right in their FM radio friendly spin on the Appalachian derived art form. Not typically British and not standard Blue Grass, but who cares? It is great music and never sounds gimicky or out of place. The 2011 Kunde Family Estates Chardonnay tastes nothing short of genuine, even though I might not have guessed where it came from.