2004 Frei Brothers Russian River Valley - Printable Version

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- robr - 02-13-2006 09:59 PM

In my current search for interesting chardonnay I have been thwarted by the confederacy of retailers in my area who refuse to stock much white burgundy. Drat! However, I bought and opened the above mentioned on the advice that "it got a 90" by someone.

All I can say is Wow Wow Wow! This is the best one yet. Very fruity, lots of honey, and a nice buttery popcorn finish. NO OAK! But, a little vanilla flavor, which might denote oak? 95 BK points (the highest yet give any wine). About $16.

- Innkeeper - 02-14-2006 07:49 AM

Maybe that is your style. FYI the "butter" come from malolactic fermention (when they use milk yeast instead of grape yeast), and the "vanilla" comes from OAK.

[This message has been edited by Innkeeper (edited 02-14-2006).]

- Kcwhippet - 02-14-2006 08:19 AM

Close, IK. The malolactic fermentation is conducted using a lactic acid bacteria, not yeast. The bacteria converts the malic acid (as in green apple) to lactic acid. Only certain strains are used because some can metabolise sugars or tartaric acid and cause an excess of acetic acid - not a good thing, unless you're trying to make vinegar.

- Innkeeper - 02-14-2006 10:23 AM

Well I get close in horseshoes and hand grenades too!

- wondersofwine - 02-14-2006 11:07 AM

I like Frei Brothers Pinot Noir but haven't tried the Chardonnay. Just read an article in March 2006 issue of "Wine Enthusiast" which says Foxen vineyard is decreasing malolactic fermentation in their Chards and also using 10 months in French oak vs. 24 months to let the grapes "speak for themselves." Would like to try the Foxen result.

- robr - 02-14-2006 03:09 PM

You guys are so knowledgable about this stuff, I'm always amazed.

- brappy - 03-13-2006 06:05 PM

I bit; this one is chilling right now. I'll comment later tonight.

- brappy - 03-13-2006 11:40 PM

Where to begin......... This wine does have all the qualities BK mentioned. The oak is noticeable (but not too strong) and it seems as if the barrels were charred a touch. None of the flavors are very intense and none of the flavors stand out. In other words, stylisticly, i prefer to have the fruit stick out with hints of malo and oak added for depth, complexity, etc... This wines fruit isn't strong enough to carry the other flavors. So, for my preference, the wine's balance is off a touch. I'm not trying to say the wine is bad; On the contrary, I find the wine enjoyable, just not as much as I would like. Another interesting note is that the nose (which I loved) did not match the palate. I'm not sure why. I believe the acid in the wine has something to do with it, but that's just a guess.

When drinking this wine, it reminded me of a wine which I had the other day. My wife and I went to lunch and ordered a bottle of Sonoma Cutrer. I believe it was thier basic bottling (3 rivers ranch or something like that). This is also a good wine but again I found the balance off a tad bit but in an entirely different direction. In this wine the malo fermentation took over the fruit. Not so you couldn't taste the fruit, but just enough to mask the fruit.

Anyway, thanks for turning me on to this wine. It's always a learning experience and its a treat when the wine is good.


- Innkeeper - 03-14-2006 07:46 AM

Excellent palate Mark. You nailed both of those wines perfectly.

- wondersofwine - 03-14-2006 09:52 AM

I have liked the more expensive The Cutrer in the past but was never very fond of the Three Rivers Ranch (haven't tried their third label--Les Perrieres?)

- robr - 03-14-2006 04:38 PM

Wow! Brapster is quite good at this. I hope some day to get even a little bit closer to that level of TNs. I thinks it's gonna take a lot of practice.

- brappy - 03-15-2006 01:11 AM

Thanks IK..... and BK, it was your tasting note that got me to try the wine in the first place so keep your TNs coming.