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Sunday, March 20, 2016

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Chilled Chardonnay

With temperatures in the 90s this week, something cool and nice would be more appropriate for today’s Cocktail Hour.  This morning, I put this bottle of Story Chardonnay on ice so it would be really cold this afternoon.

This particular chardonnay is not really a Story wine.  It is actually made by Weibel Vineyards in Lodi, California.  The reason this is done is because of where Story is located and the habits of wine drinkers.

Story is located in Plymouth, California in Amador County.  This is Gold Country and the Sierra Nevada foothills.  It is very hot and dry here in the summer.  Perfect for growing big, bold, red grapes like zinfandel, barbera, and sangiovese.  Not so great for more delicate white grapes like chardonnay.

Wine drinkers tend to want white wines too, to go along with the reds they taste so wineries in this area need to have some available.  It’s just common sense and supply and demand.  If you customers want to buy white wine, have some available.

In this area, the wineries have two options.  Buy the grapes from other areas…like Lodi or the Central Coast…have them shipped up and make them into wine, or have another winery make it and slap your label on it.  The second option is the one Story takes.  They, and several other wineries in the state, also do this with Weibel’s excellent almond champagne.

I don’t have any problem with them doing this as long as they are up front about it, and Story is.  The label on the back of the bottle explicitly says it’s a Weibel product and the prices are the same with either label.

So, how is the wine?  Very good.  Nice, smooth and a slight buttery flavor.  Just a hint of fresh fruit flavors such as watermelon and kiwi.  A lot of chardonnays are described as clean and fruity when they just taste tart, and maybe a little soury.  Not this one.  Fresh fruit flavor, smoothed with a slight buttery finish.

Delicious on a hot patio day like today.

So how does it do on our new healthy themed Cocktail Hour season?  It depends on where you check, but the average number of calories is 500 per bottle.  We share between two people and get 6 glasses total for 250 calories per person (1/2 bottle) or around 84 calories per glass.  You will also consume around 8 grams of carbohydrates but no fat and no protein.

It’s a good chardonnay, probably around the 2nd or 3rd best we’ve had in the last year (Santa Alicia from Chile is the best we’ve had recently).  If you can’t find Story at your local wine shop, look for Weibel.  If you can’t find either, you can order online at Story ( or at Weibel (


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