Porta Chardonnay 2014

Unoaked, the less expensive sister of the Porta Reserva Chardonnay, a winner.

Beautiful honey-gold colour, she looks to be light-bodied. Call it medium minus. No gas or solids, the meniscus moves to the lightest of yellows, starbright.

On the nose, she’s inviting and relatively rich. Light-weight tropical fruits are the first to make an appearance; pineapple, guava, green apricot and some citrus.

In the mouth, those flavours are replaced with an acidic element that’s kind of overpowering. Lemon juice and orange pith, not an altogether harmonious combination.

Herein the dilemma of the unoaked chardonnay. If the fruit and fermentation can’t make a product worth drinking, is there a reason to keep making it? Key here is that the fruit element of this wine is…missing. It’s almost like the grapes are a vehicle for the products that come from the winemaking process; wine, alcohol and something to sell.

It’s not like there isn’t an audience for a wine like this, because there must be. What’s worth considering is the ancient idea that wine is a way to preserve grapes and the essence of them. In other words, if a wine doesn’t echo the fruit on the vine, is there a good reason to make it?

As is the wont of wines like this, oxygen helps. As the available molecules add O, their nature changes, as does the wine. Food, too, of course, pushes back on the idea of wine as aperitif towards wine as a complement. This one definitely improves with food, and could deal with heavy dishes…and might even be a super accompaniment

The question of pairings is at stake here. Because of the way this wine is made, and the nature of the grape the standard equation of chardonnay + X = satisfaction fails to solve for X.

The calculation should ready be acidic light-bodies grape product + X = satisfaction. That’s a different thing entirely.

Tart fruits, which means apricot skin, unripe pineapple and…just try it.