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Smoking Loon Chardonnay 2008

Chardonnay from California
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    Winemaker Notes

    Creamy, bright aromas of vanilla bean poached pear and fresh brioche bread waft out of the glass, with a slight hint of nutmeg in the background. Full of flavor on the palate, Meyer lemon, caramel apple, and smoky vanilla oak are all tightly intertwined. The four unique California appellations in this blend contribute balanced citrus acidity, fruit avor, and oak nuance to this Chardonnay. A touch of tangerine peel shows on the mid-palate, while lemon meringue lingers in the complex finish. Medium-bodied overall, 75% of this wine went through malolactic fermentation before aging for 9 months on the lees of the grapes for added depth and roundness.

    The mellow acidity and balance of toast and citrus in this Chardonnay make it a great wine to stand alone or pair nicely with food. A chicken sandwich with grilled pineapple would complement this wine well, as would a Caesar salad with grilled shrimp. For people who appreciate wine without the pretense, Smoking Loon is the full-bodied California varietal wine that celebrates independent character and a Bohemian personality by going beyond a single plot of land or a château, to explore the best vineyards in each vintage through our négociant relationships.

    Critical Acclaim

    Smoking Loon

    Smoking Loon

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    Smoking Loon, , California
    Smoking Loon
    Don Sebastiani & Sons is a family-owned wine negociant firm specializing in the marketing of upscale, but moderately priced varietal wines. Principals Don Sebastiani and sons, Donny and August are third and fourth generation California vintners and wine merchants. The company is headquartered in Sonoma Valley and has a winery in the Napa Valley.

    Smoking Loon has been recognized as a Value Brand of the Year by Wine & Spirits magazine (2005).

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    Petite Sirah

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    With its deep color, rich texture, firm tannin, and bold flavors, there is nothing petite about Petite Sirah. The variety was originally known as Durif, but took on its more popular moniker when it was imported to California from France in 1884. Despite its origins, it has since become known as a quintessentially Californian grape. It has been commonly utilized as a blending partner for softer Zinfandel and other varieties, but has also found success as a single varietal wine. It is most commonly grown in Lodi and the Central Valley, and to an extent in Sonoma and Napa counties.

    In the Glass

    Petite Sirah wines are typically deep, dark, rich, and inky, with concentrated flavors of blueberry, plum, backberry, black pepper, sweet baking spice, leather, and cigar box, and chewy, chocolatey tannins. Notes of vanilla and coconut can be found in examples with significant amounts of new oak.

    Perfect Pairings

    Petite Sirah’s full body and bold fruit make it an ideal match for barbecue, especially brisket with a slightly sweet sauce, and other rich meat dishes. The variety’s heavy tannins call for fatty protein and strong flavors that won’t get drowned out by the wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Don’t get Petite Sirah confused with Syrah—it is not, as the name might seem to imply, a smaller version of Syrah. It is, however, the offspring of Syrah (crossed with an obscure French variety called Peloursin), so the two grapes do share some characteristics despite being completely distinct varieties.

    LIM386540_2008 Item# 105275

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