Our Selection for Wine of the Week February 22, 2010
Seductively Fat Freestone Vineyards
2007 Ovation Chardonnay California
If you thought Ovation was the name of Joseph Phelps Chardonnay, you are correct. Phelps Ovation is now Freestone's Ovation. The identity change was made to mark Phelps investment in its own Sonoma Coast vineyard and winery (Freestone) from which Ovation's grapes are now sourced and where the wine is made. (Under the Phelps label, a portion of Ovation’s grapes were purchased from independent growers and trucked to the winery's Napa winemaking facility.) In addition to Ovation, Freestone Vineyards produces several Chardonnays as well as four different Pinot Noirs. The 2007 Ovation is an elegant wine. On the nose, it offers roasted cashew, Asian pear, toasted oak and citrus zest. In the mouth, heavy malolactic fermentation gives the wine a creamy, almost plush texture. Artfully balanced natural acidity keeps Ovation from going from seductively fat to simply flabby. However, we do think the stylized winemaking goes just a hair too far. Nuances like a lovely mineral note on the finish are overshadowed by the flavor of buttered popcorn, (a classic malolactic note). This sophisticated wine would be a lovely addition to any dish from ceviche to coq au vin, triple cream cheeses to roast pork loin. And yes, it would be delicious with a big bowl of buttered popcorn.