William Hill 2008 chardonnay review

6 10 2010

Today we review a California chardonnay from Napa Valley that costs about $20 a bottle.

Bottom line: Recommended for those who like buttery, oaky chardonnay.  Did I mention buttery?

OK I have a confession:  I have something against most California chardonnays.  That being, I hardly ever like them.  The ones that are remotely affordable are usually way too oaky and they feel sort of clogged, flavor-wise.  Clogged with what?  I don’t know — strange, artificial-tasting flavors.  

Now, for a ray of hope.  Today’s chardonnay is a bit different: it’s extremely buttery, and yes it’s pretty darn oaky, but it’s not overwhelmed with those weird, fake flavors I was mentioning.  So despite my bigoted prejudice, I think William Hill chardonnay from Napa Valley is actually pretty darn good.  And I’m really glad that the winery sent me this sample to check out.  

The downside?  It’s not crisp or refreshing, because there is so much deep, intense flavor.  And yet, it doesn’t do anything really wrong.  For $20, that’s special.

As for the Wine Review Tasting Notes — you know, “braised honeydew melon with hints of duck taco” — they aren’t that important here, because William Hill tastes similar to every other decent California chardonnay, with its flavors presented in a way that feels more natural, and less weird to your Wineguider.  But two other things stand out:  it’s a little bit minerally, and it’s a bit spicy.  Yum.  More William Hill, please?

You can now store your ice cubes safely in hell, because your Wineguider has decided that this $20 California chardonnay is:

William Hill chardonnay review

Recommended.

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7 responses

8 10 2010
notesfromrumbleycottage

Not sure if I have ever had a ‘buttery’ wine but I am looking forward to trying it out.

21 10 2010
wineguider

Here is a video wine review that also expresses a “buttery” reaction, and is fun and educational as well: http://tv.winelibrary.com/2010/10/14/california-vs-french-chardonnay-tasting-episode-932/

10 10 2010
receptionistsecrets

I haven’t had a buttery wine either. It seems like it would be strange.

11 10 2010
wineguider

It’s actually a common taste in a California chardonnay. This is because of a technique that many wineries use called “malolactic fermentation.” It takes a typical white wine taste like “green apples” and converts that taste into something much rounder, more silky, and more, well, buttery. If you have never noticed this kind of flavor in a California chardonnay, I would guess that you have either been drinking crisper California chardonnays, or that the wines you have been drinking have used malolactic fermentation in a subtle way.
To REALLY get a mouth full of this “buttery” taste, I can’t recommend any wine more strongly than the William Hill chardonnay. You will taste it and go, “yeah!! I see the buttery thing!” You MAY feel that it’s more “butterscotch” than “butter.” But I think you’ll agree with what I’m saying in general. Cheers!
-Wineguider

12 10 2010
frazzledfoodie

I am convinced I’m off of Chardonnay and Merlot simply because it was all anyone knew to order for the entire decade of the nineties. Well – not really, but they really were overrepresented! I took a class once at the Chelsea Wine Vault near where I lived in New York and the teacher said if you want to insult someone’s Chardonnay, to wrinkle your nose and say “OAK CHIPS.” She was joking, of course, but I am still not a fan of much oak or butter in my wine. Thanks for the review! I’ll keep reading…

13 10 2010
wineguider

Ha! I always hear about oak chips… I wonder how many winemakers really use them!?
-Wineguider

18 05 2012
Baroness Sigler

I agree- buttery and oaky and not offensive. I am not a chardonnay fan, I would drink oaky leathery cab with hits of mushrooms and tobacco, with strong tannins any day instead. This chardonnay made me happy tonight. Just the right stuff without weirdnesss. Will go at look it up in a local store.

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