I call it the 'Kendall Jackson effect'. Somehow, years ago Chardonnay drinkers fell in love with really oaky wines. Is that a bad thing? You like what you like, and in this authors opinion, it's Rock and Roll versus Alternative Rock; the latter being a guilty pleasure and rarely maintaining any real merit. So Jess Jackson and his brilliant team put together an oaky Chardonnay, and somehow it ended up in every restaurant that served workaday wine drinkers. Now I don't know why it happened, or how it happened, but someone started messing with Malolactic Fermentation. Malolactic Fermentation uses lactic bacteria to convert the harsh(but beautiful) malic acid into the more familiar lactic acid. It's great in Red Wines, especially Tempranillo, but makes your Chardonnay taste more like Country Home Margarine if over done. Fast forward a decade or so of 'juiced up juice', and we start seeing a trend of this 'Land O Lake' over buttery Chardonnay Chic.
I like Chardonnays with butterscotch under tones, Jean Hofliger made a great example of this at Newton and then again at Alpha Omega. Frank Family and Miner also make SUBTLE buttered toasty Chards as well, and that's why you don't see more of them. The fact of the matter is, Macon and Fouisse appreciate a clean acidity, and we simply appreciate grandeur. Jordan Chardonnay is overlooked because of it's lack of oak and butter, but I adore its Burgundian similarities. It's clean pear and creamy mango mesh well with undertones of sweet honeysuckle. I try not to bash anyones wines, because it really takes all types, so I apologize to Jess and his team because they make good wines, I just cannot take this Jacksonian era of over zest any longer.
If you want quality Chardonnay, know too you may have to pay more, but the outcome is far greater. Paying $25 dollars for a good Chardonnay is a blessing considering what us Cab Heads pay for our favorites. Feel lucky that you aren't addicted to a wine that can easily stack up to $70-$100, and listen to us when we suggest sed wines. Go find a bottle of Lambert Bridge Chardonnay and enjoy it's tight roping of Butterscotch, but also enjoy the fact that some of the fruit is still succulent like it's meant to be
On a side note, join my twitter, it's a short winded version of my long winded blog style.