Wine Wednesday: Boomtown Chardonnay

By John Garland
Boomtown Chardonnay

John Garland // Growler Magazine

You know what’s the worst? $15 chardonnay. That grape in that price range is treacherously hit-or-miss, so it feels like no small victory when you find one worth drinking.

Don’t get me wrong—at the high end (as in Chablis, Montrachet, Meursault, Champagne) chardonnay makes some of the finest white wine on the planet. But on the low end, it’s basically a coin flip whether or not it’ll taste like grain alcohol mixed with movie theater imitation popcorn butter.

Why, you ask? Well, winemakers often give chardonnay a malolactic fermentation, in which malic acid (think Granny Smith apples) is turned into the softer-tasting lactic acid (think Greek yogurt). That conversion also produces the buttery brewing fault, diacetyl. Oak aging is another culprit that can draw out those creamy flavors.

So if you’re like me, you’re skipping chardonnay in lieu of a more tart, crisp white wine. But the Boomtown Chardonnay (~$15), from Walla Walla, WA, is a fine exception to the rule. It has great apple and pear flavors, with a touch of that creaminess but enough palpable acidity to cut through it.

“I prefer a little bit of a leaner style highlighting fruit and minerality,” Boomtown’s winemaker Chad Johnson tells us. “The 2013 Boomtown Chardonnay was barrel fermented in neutral barrels. This allows us to stir the lees to pick up mouth feel and mid palette weight without the new oak flavors. We allow about 50% of the malolactic conversion to occur softening the wine without getting too buttery.”

Find it on shelves at France 44, South Lyndale Liquors, Haskell’s, Liquor Boy and Midway Liquor.

About John Garland

John Garland is the Deputy Editor at the Growler Magazine. Find him on twitter (@johnpgarland) or in every coffee shop on West 7th Street.

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