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VOL. 126 | NO. 251 | Monday, December 26, 2011



Bandwagon’s ’09 Chardonnay Better Choice Than its ’10

FREDRIC KOEPPEL | Special to The Memphis News

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This is one of those occasions on which I recommend a wine one vintage behind the current release. That is, the Bandwagon Chardonnay 2010, Monterey County, has been issued, but the rendition from 2009 is what’s available in our market, and it’s delightful.

The wine was made by Tony Leonardini, whose surname inspired the name of The Little Lion Wine Co., under which he also makes wines for his Butternut, Volunteer – he’s a volunteer fireman – and The Rule labels. Leonardini grew up in the wine business; his parents own the highly regarded Whitehall Lane Winery in Napa Valley.

Bandwagon Chardonnay 2009, made entirely in stainless steel, is a pale straw-gold color; lovely aromas of ripe apples and pears reveal hints of mango and jasmine with a background of cloves and limestone. Pineapple and grapefruit flavors, with touches of spice and smoke, are deftly balanced by pert acidity and a burgeoning mineral element through the finish; the texture is silky-smooth but lively and appealing. There’s a lot of character here for the price and loads of charm. This would make an attractive match with, say, grilled trout or seared salmon with a ginger-lime-garlic sauce or crab cakes; in other words, just about anything in the fish and seafood line. Drink through summer 2012.

For more about wine, check out Koeppel’s blog at www.biggerthanyourhead.net.

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