Delving into wine is a journey, a wonderful livelong excursion for many of us. And while there are inevitably detours along the way, we tend to think we’re always moving forward.
That means leaving behind some very enjoyable stops. But since this expedition takes place over years or even decades, rather than revel in them, we tend to treat those stops the way we do life itself: Oh, I’ve moved past that, I’m much wiser now, I can’t go back there.
That might be justifiable if we’re eschewing our “early-childhood” vinous experiences, such as Boone’s Farm or blush wines. But it’s a shaky, and probably more than a little snobbish, to renounce our “adolescence” predilections.
For the better part of the 1990s, when I was thoroughly enjoying wine but not examining it closely, the Estancia Pinnacles was my go-to chardonnay. Lush and smooth and just plain delicious, the Pinnacles was eminently satisfying on its own or with most any chicken or shellfish prep. It also was my dad’s favorite, and thus a nice piece of connective tissue.
But then I started getting more serious and exploratory about wine, and sought out not only chards from elsewhere but less “weighty” white wines in general. That coincided with the burgeoning availability of such wines, and soon I had effectively “moved on” from the Estancia Pinnacles.
So in a week filled with sampling — the recycling guys are going to be especially impressed/bamboozled next week — I assumed, while pouring the 2010 Estancia Pinnacles Ranches Chardonnay last night, that it was no longer remotely in my “wheelhouse.”
And then I smelled it, and was instantly intoxicated (figuratively) with the lush pear and floral aromas. And it tasted just like, and just as good as, it smelled. Succulent, persistent fruit, a lively mouthfeel, only a hint of oak and a rich but clean finish. Yum.
The upshot, at least for me: Our palates might evolve with experience, or change with age — bracing Mediterranean whites with ripe fruit have wowed me for many months now — but delicious is delicious. Oh, and a certain $12 chardonnay is back in my rotation.