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Twin Fin Chardonnay 2004
We're striving for balanced flavors. As a result, 40% of the blend went through malolactic fermentation; giving the wine some creamy texture without overpowering the beautiful citrus overtones. Weekly lees stirring also added to the creaminess of the wine. About 30% of the blend underwent barrel fermentation in a 50–50% mix of American and French oak, giving the wine some subtle toasty flavors.
As we like to say in our native Australia, "we reckon it's a cracker of a wine!" There's a nice balance between fruit and oak. The final blend is full of tropical fruit, melon and peach with a subtle hint of toasty oak. This is also a versatile wine, perfect with grilled seafood, chicken and creamy pasta dishes.
“Twin Fin is all about fun: relaxed, and always comfortable,” says Sam. “Good wine is like those experiences that become memories, where the horizon signifies not an end, but a beginning—of the next wave, the next adventure, the next possibility. It’s where quality and personality, character and substance all meet in one bottle.”
Hugh and Sam are not what you’d expect from winemakers; these guys are better. While they both have impressive backgrounds – Hugh graduated from Australia’s top winemaking school and Sam has worked with wineries in all of the major wine regions of Australia – they also know how to have a good time. They really live in the spirit of the wine they create: people that work hard and play hard.
“We get the grapes from select vineyards along California’s Central Coast,” says Sam. “That gives us great wine quality, and a chance to travel to all the places we love to visit.” This winemaking duo makes six wines: Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir. The wines are fresh and fruit-driven and offer tremendous quality for the price—just right for everything from beach barbecues to dinner with the in-laws. “The perfect night, the perfect friends and the perfect wine—it’s that easy with Twin Fin,” says Hugh.
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from tiny, family-owned boutiques to massive corporations, and price and production are equally varied. Plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Valley area, while Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Each American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sub-AVA of has its own distinct personality, allowing California to produce wine of every fashion: from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate vineyard acreage. Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône Blends blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, any wine lover will find something to get excited about here.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.