2011 Jean-Louis Chave Selection “Celeste,” Saint-Joseph ($30): Made from 90 percent roussanne and 10 percent marsanne, this Rhone blend is weighty and concentrated with notes of peach, honey, apricot, and a bit of spice. Minerality and present acid give the wine excellent structure.
Oxidation isn’t always a bad thing! In fact, some winemakers incorporate it into their wines on purpose, to soften fruit and acidity and to allow wines to develop complex flavors. This category can overlap somewhat. For example, many orange wines have oxidative qualities, and many oxidative wines are fermented with skin contact. The softened acidity and nuttiness that these wines often take on can appeal to red wine drinkers.
2008 Michel Gahier “Les Follasses” Chardonnay, Jura ($22): Made in the “sous voile” method that is traditional for this French region, this wine is deliberately oxidized in partially full, old oak barrels. This is a classic Jura chardonnay, all hazelnut and honey, and it takes on a minerally, yellow apple character.
2004 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Gravonia" Crianza, Rioja ($27): The oxidative quality of this one is just one of many things going on in this complex white Rioja, which is aged in barrel for four years before bottling. Notes of dried fruit, almond, honey, and white flowers characterize a wine that is both round and fresh.
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