Stags Leap Wine Cellars 2012 Karia Chardonnay
We’ve obviously mentioned the Judgment of Paris and Bottle Shock before, and now, here’s a wine from the winery that actually won for the reds! Stags Leap Wine Cellars was the big weener for its 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon. Even though this is obviously not a 1973 OR a cab, I think it’s fun to see what some of the older wineries in the valley are up to. Not to mention that at the time the 73 cab won, it was only 3 years old.
Another toddler emerging from the terrible two’s is this lovely Chardonnay from 2012. It’s a nice buttery yellow color, crystal clear. The nose is gently ripe with pear and mandarin, with none of the funk that sometimes makes chards a bit difficult for me. The wine is light bodied, very smooth, lower alcohol, medium viscosity. It’s perfectly balanced, actually, and the flavors are subtle.
Clifford noted that temperature made a lot of difference in the scent straight from the bottle. At grocery store temp, it was not very nice, but at serving temp, it was pretty light on the nose.
White flowers, florals, heavily oaked, no nasty PVC plasticky taste, the alcohol is pleasantly completely integrated into the flavor, it doesn’t stand out, peaches, pear, mandarin, honeydew, in my new focus on how art makes me feel, this wine makes me feel happy to drink wine. It reminds me of a tree near where I grew up at that perfect moment in the year when the flowers were perfectly fragrant. Walking home through the formerly rural Hayward is what this wine reminds me of. It was a purple flower tree that was disgustingly stanky when the flowers were overpowering, but at the beginning of spring, when only a couple were out, it smelled fantastic, just like this wine.
The winemaker’s notes say that this wine is an exploration of cooler-weather chardonnay grapes from Carneros and Oak Knoll. Overall, I think it’s a great, approachable wine that makes chardonnay look good. I’d be willing to bet it’s even better when it comes directly from the winery, having been optimally cellared. We’ll have to go by there and give it a try.
The Hella 5 Star System
We have adopted the opinion that fine art, music, wine, cigars, and other comestibles are governed by a unifying principle, which is that the intention of the artist matters. Art can be judged by the patron only as it pertains to the emotive and inductive properties of that art. We think Winemakers and Torcedors are artists.
Here at Hella Wine, we cut our wine-rating teeth on the wildly popular wine app Vivino. Vivino has an integrated five-star system for rating wine, but no standardized rubric to go with it, so we had to define what the star ratings actually mean, and we did so in a very personal way. This system takes into account: price, aesthetics, situational variables, relationships, and any other completely biased information we can come up with. This makes our system predictably emotional, and ratings change from glass to glass, even possibly from the same bottle.
Without further ado, our 5 star rating system revealed
I wont drink/smoke this even if you buy it!
I would drink a glass of this or smoke 1 if you bought it, but I would not order this for myself.
I would buy a glass/one cigar and enjoy it.
I would buy a bottle/5pack of this and really enjoy it.
I'd buy a case/box of this because I just love it.
The Hella 50 to 100 System
We also will usually apply the commonly used 50-100 point scale to our ratings. This tasting format, familiar from the annals of the indelible Robert Parker and Wine Spectator Magazine, does not take price or my ability to afford the wine in question into account. The situation that the drink or cigar was tasted in does not matter. This scale only reflects the quality of the wine/cigar in relation to other wines/cigars we have tasted.
You may loosely infer from this rating:
96-100: A hella amazing wine/cigar of super bold complex character displaying the attributes we hella want to find in the best wines in the world. Wines like this are hella awesome.
90 - 95: An amazing wine/cigar with hella character. Wonderful stuff, we feel lucky to try these.
80 - 89: A hella good wine/cigar, no noticeable flaws but it's just good/okay.
70 - 79: Hella basic, not so memorable wine/cigar. It's good, but just missing that something that makes it hella good, or even special.
60 - 69: Something bad happened in this wine/cigars life. Maybe it got left in a car and cooked, or maybe it sucked to begin with. All we know is we hella don't really want to finish it. Sometimes you gotta take one for the team.
50 - 59: This wine/cigar hella sucks.