When I was shopping at Safeway’s Washington Wine Sale, I asked the store’s wine steward to find me a good Chardonnay at an under $10 price point. She pointed me to the Covey Run 2011 Chardonnay as one of her top bargains so we decided to give it a try. It’s a very complex wine for such a low price. I can find this just about anywhere here in the PNW for $6 so it certainly falls in the daily drinker category.
The Covey Run 2011 Chardonnay comes in at 13.2% alcohol. I’m fairly certain it’s 100% Chardonnay. Where the fun part comes in is that it’s essentially two different wines blended together. Covey Run has a history of fermenting some Chardonnay in tank and some in a combination of new and neutral oak. Some of the wine will see malolactic fermentation and aging on the lees. All of this different styling leads to a decently balanced Chard made with Columbia Valley fruit. Our bottle and cork were perfect. The wine was chilled to about 55 degrees and served in a generic stemless glass. When the bottle was opened, we were gifted with a nice aroma of pear. The wine was a lovely pale lemon color.
The Covey Run 2011 Chardonnay had a moderately perfumed nose full of apple, pear, and melon. There were the slightest hints of banana and butter. The first sip was very much like the nose but was also very nutty with distinct flavors of almond and hazelnut. All of those flavors were over a backdrop of oak, vanilla, and a dry honey flavor. Once the wine opened up and warmed just a few degrees there was also a hint of white pepper. Even though the wine didn’t taste overly sweet there was a “sweet impression” along with a feeling of “evaporation” in the mouth that really isn’t easy to explain. It’s not unpleasant, it’s just something you normally experience with wines with more residual sugar and short finishes. This wine had a very long finish, however, and the acid was on the lower end of the medium spectrum. Still acidic enough to be palate cleansing but can be easily consumed without food. We found that with food the pear and the apple really stood out. Our raspberry bite-size tart we had for dessert brought out the vanilla, oak, and honey. When the wine was paired with lemon bite-size tart it was like sucking on an oak chip. Since our dinner and dessert were really small we snacked on a few wasabi peas which brought forward the dry honey and sweet vanilla.
The Covey Run 2011 Chardonnay is a very enjoyable wine at an excellent price point. It reminds me of many mid-price California Chardonnays that see a moderate oak level in fermentation. Those wines usually run from $15 to $30. If you like that style then this $6 bottle can’t be beat. On the standard wine spectator scale we give this wine 86 points. I would pair it with grilled salmon and roasted brussels sprouts or a pear, walnut, and blue cheese salad!
Have you tried the Covey Run 2011 Chardonnay or any of the Covey Run line? Let us know what you think in the comments below.