Some folks like their Chardonnay soft, buttery and round; some folks like their Chardonnay lean, clean and edgy, but most folks are also influenced by the season and the occasion for drinking a dry white wine. The 2011 Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay fits between those extremes with a heavy tilt toward the lean side of the scale, perfect for hot summer weather, the beach or casual entertaining around Southwest Florida.
A pale yellow in the glass the nose is an enjoyable blend of apple, pineapple and vanilla bean, a clear hint of what is to come and good enough not to hurry through for those who like the total experience of a wine. The flavors are well put together moving smoothly from pear and apple to lemony citrus ending with a hint of spice that betrays a little bit of aging in oak. The touch of oak sets this apart from the growing movement toward unoaked Chardonnay that has been hitting the market the last few years and serves as a great way to bring the whole package together like a book you enjoy on a lazy afternoon. In all honesty my desire for this wine increased as it warmed a little in the glass and the flavors came together, before that it seemed to lack the little points of difference in flavor that makes a wine more than a simple quaffing party beverage. Is this an extraordinary wine, not quite, it is a sound 3.5 stars for those who follow such things. The final impression is that the winemaker has done a fine job of presenting a clean light and fruity white wine that moves through the palate that lingers slightly in the mouth and leaves a desire to more.
When pairing with food avoid a lot of heavy or creamy foods; match it to meal or snack like you would a Chablis from France (http://www.chablis.fr/#/en/Food-Wine-Pairings/) and you will be very happy with the way the two come together in the mouth. Complementing and supporting each other like a good dance couple rather than one leading and the other dragging along or trying to catch up. Of course, the 2011 Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay is great stand alone wine too, a refreshing drink for time spent ruminating on the vagaries of life or catching up with friends and family.
This is not a wine for those who like a solid full on Chardonnay, but those who can appreciate a delicate dance of aroma and flavor from a 100% Chardonnay grape wine will be very pleased. Like the other varietals from Casillero del Diablo this Chardonnay is widely available in wine stores and grocery aisles throughout Southwest Florida. Expect to pay under $10 and consider yourself one of those folks who don’t need to follow the latest “hot” label and can appreciate a great value in wine buying.