Saturday, July 29, 2017

Washington Chardonnay vs. Macon-Villages

The 2017 edition of the Tour de France wrapped up last week with Chris Froome taking his fourth TdF victory.  The overall victory wasn't sealed until the time trial on the penultimate day of the tour.  However, Froome's victory wasn't much of a surprise (again).

There were other surprises in the race.  Peter Sagan, the world champion, was disqualified after Stage 4 for reckless sprinting.  Ritchie Porte, a top contender, crashed out of the race when he failed to negotiate a turn while descending the Mont de Chat on stage 9.  Marcel Kittel was leading the Green Jersey competition when he had to abandon the race due to a crash on stage 17.

When a race covers 21 stages and thousands of kilometers, there are plenty of opportunities for unusual things to happen.  Just like the tour, this week's challenge brings out some surprises from the first week of the tour when the racers swept through the Burgundy region.

Instead of Burgundy vs. Pinot Noir, I bring on my own style of surprise with a Chardonnay clash of the titans.

2012 Rulo Chardonnay v. 2014 Joseph Drouhin Macon-Villages

Tale of the Tape

2012 Rulo Chardonnay

100% Chardonnay from the Walla Walla Valley AVA

Sourced from the Birch Creek and Freewater Rocks Vineyards

Provided as a sample by the winery.  Available for $25 at retail.

2014 Joseph-Drouhin Macon-Villages

100% Chardonnay from the Macon-Villages AOC located in the South of Burgundy.

Natural yeasts are used in the fermentation and then aged for 6-8 months in stainless steel.

Purchased for $12.99 at Esquin.

Round 1.  First opening.

Rulo leaps into the ring.  It looks like this Washington state Chardonnay is going to force the action and make this a rough and tumble affair.  The nose shows light citrus, tropical fruit and notes of straw that are all backed up with some nice mineral tones.  The palate leans more toward citrus with lemon zest balanced out with sweeter notes of honeysuckle, pear and melon that are followed by a dry finish with a nice touch of acidity.

The French challenger from Macon-Villages isn't backing down.  The Joseph Drouhin is stepping up and going toe-to-toe with the Rulo.  The nose is showing lemon zest with some oily character along with dry meadow flowers.  The palate brings out notes of apple, lemon zest and dried straw with a mean streak of acidity.

These competitors are very evenly matched.  Rulo was slightly more aggressive in round one and takes the points.

Round 2.  One hour after opening.

The Rulo Luchador is building some strength for round two.  The nose is a bit darker with richer lemon and honeysuckle notes.  The palate is similar with some additional notes of pear and minerality with a solid backbone of acidity.

The Joseph Drouhin is holding strong as well.  The French challenger is working hard to get inside Rulo's defenses with some unique grappling moves.  The nose is showing lighter notes of lemon zest and dried straw.  The palate is developing with notes of green apple emerging along with lemon and dried flowers that are all intermingled with solid acidity.

The Joseph Drouhin got a bit sassy in this round and that seems to have caught the judges eyes.  They give the round to the Macon-Villages challenger, evening the match at one point a piece.
Round 3. One day after opening.

After chilling out between rounds the Rulo Luchador is showing no sign of slowing down.  The nose is still showing plenty of minerality along with  herbal lemon zest and pear with some slight muskiness.  The palate is continuing to show apple, pears and lemon with stronger acidity.

Joseph Drouhin counters with an attack that could be mistaken for a Riesling Luchador.  The nose is oily with herbal notes of dusty lemon.  The palate is showing green apple, melons and lemon zest with a robust streak of acidity.

The judges have to go to a replay review to determine the winner of the third round.  After emerging from the replay room, the judges give the final round to Rulo.  That gives the Washington Luchador the points it needs to win the match!

Rulo takes the victory over Macon-Villages!

Wrap up and overall observations

If you like Chardonnay that is aged in stainless, then you will like both of these wines.  Both of these wines are showing some interesting characteristics.  I would highly recommend searching out wines from Rulo and Joseph Drouhin.

If you would like to learn more about Rulo, here is a good profile.

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