As a rule, I don’t like California Chardonnays. Sure, I’ve had good ones and bad ones, but the general flavour profile has never done much for me. So when I ended up with a bottle of the 2012 St. Francis Chardonnay, I didn’t have particularly high hopes — even if it was well balanced, and perfectly flavourful, I just didn’t expect to like it, as you can see in the video above. It’s not even that I dislike Chardonnay, particularly. I have an ongoing love affair with the unbelievably good whites coming out of Chablis, whose expression of the grape is entirely different from California. But here’s the thing about wine tasting — even if you don’t necessarily go in for the taste, you can appreciate the beverage, and this is exactly what happened with the St. Francis.

St. Francis Tasting Chardonnay Notes

St. Francis pours a lighter kind of straw, indicating little or no oak aging, compared with some of its darker kin. On the nose, St. Francis smells of a rapidly ripening fruit basket. Ok I’m being unfair, it’s actually pretty pleasant with big melon and cantaloupe, maybe a little bit of mango.

The taste and texture are typical California Chard — rich buttery texture, with oaky vanilla carried on a thick viscous texture. The fruitiness isn’t quite tropical, but it approaches it. The cantaloupe on the nose takes centre stage, with honey dew melon and even the faintest hint of passion fruit. It’s pretty darn well balanced, with a solid fruity finish that has enough acidity to prevent it from becoming cloying.

I still didn’t like it, in spite of every possible indication to the contrary. There’s just something about the expression that doesn’t jive with me. But part of wine tasting is learning to appreciate all wines, and from a more objective point of view St. Francis is pretty darn solid. As weather turns warm, and gatherings move outside, St. Francis Chardonnay is one most people will enjoy sipping slow.

Forbes did a nice little piece on the problems with California Chardonnay, and you can read it here.

St. Francis Chardonnay