I may have missed Labor Day this year, and autumn may be in full swing, but that doesn’t mean that I’m through drinking the sort of wines that are more typically associated with summertime.
(And, okay, I didn’t exactly miss Labor Day: I was on a fantastic press trip to Italy, and spent last Monday on the island of Pantelleria, closer to Tunisia than Sicily, and after a magnificent lunch at Club Levante with my colleagues and enough excellent wine from Donnafugata to fill a swimming pool for, well, a Labor Day party, I enjoyed a swim with a glass of passito in an infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean. So, fine: Labor Day was epic this year, just not of the traditional hot-dog-and-hamburger-and-beer variety.)
Anyway, I bring this up because as summer begins its inexorable slide into autumn, and thoughts begin their turn toward heartier wines, it's easy to forget that we still have another month left of warm weather left, and the miraculous late-summer bounty that comes along with it.
Which is why I’m glad I recently tasted the Clambake Unoaked Chardonnay 2014, a value-priced wine (SRP $16) that delivers more character and subtlety than so many other Chards at a comparable price point, eschewing the all-too-familiar obvious oak and instead favoring a style as crisp and clean as an early-autumn morning. Check out my review below, and pick up a bottle if you see one. No matter the time of year, it’s a solid buy.
Ripe Life Wines Clambake Unoaked Chardonnay 2014, Mendocino, CA
Pleasant nose, clean and transparent, with lemon oil, seashell minerality, and crunchy green apple turning to a palate of bright acid and crisp minerality with a hint of lime flesh and salinity. Clean and refreshing, with a dash of lemongrass. Begs for a seafood dish to enjoy alongside, any time of the year.