2008 Olabisi Wines Mendocino Chardonnay
Mission Codename: Double Top Secret
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Olabisi Wine Cellars, in the town of Napa, and procure their spectacular ultra-Top Secret (vineyard) Mendocino County Chardonnay, which comes from a shared vineyard that produces another famous-name Chardonnay that sells for $100.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Olabisi Wine Cellars
Wine Subject: 2008 Mendocino Chardonnay – Double Top Secret Vineyard
Winemaker: Ted Osborne
Backgrounder: The Mendocino AVA, located along the Russian River and highway 101 north of Sonoma County is where the grapes for this delicious Cabernet Sauvignon were grown. The actual AVA is centered between Hopland and Ukiah in the southern third of the county and are heavily influenced by the climate which is regulated by the mountain ridges that surround the upper Russian River. The deep alluvial and gravelly loam soils also contribute to the flavor profile of the grapes grown in the region. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are the primary grapes grown here.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Light golden yellow with hues. At the edge of the glass a ring of fine, glinting gold encircles the glass. When swirled, the wine leaves behind short, stuttering columns of chubby tears that run slowly down the glass.
Smell – Sweet and intriguing, with classic and uniquely original aromas. Lemon zest, white peach, green apple and soft spice take the lead. As the wine warms, it reveals creme brulee, orange blossom, pineapple, sweet oak and vanilla.
Feel – Voluptuous and smooth on entry. As the wine settles onto the palate, it takes on a softly plush feel. After a few moments, a zestiness adds a dynamic zing that that gives the wine a fun and dynamic feel.
Taste – Delicious and complex, with bright, sweet fruit balanced beautifully by soft tart fruit and a subtle earthen character. Green Asian melon, lemon, orange peel, white flowers and slate are followed by pineapple, green mango and soft spice.
Finish – Very long and very flavorful, with sweet fruit yielding to tart flavors, minerals and earthy spice. As the wine dries the palate a hint of slate persists, long after the fruit flavors subside.
Conclusion – This is one delicious Chardonnay! We love it for its complexity, its voluptuous feel, its bold flavors and its lovely aromatics. The secret to this fine wine is in its birthplace. Born of a Mendocino vineyard that was planted by the world-famous Beckstoffer Family, this wine sells for a fraction of the $100 price that is demanded of the other Chardonnay that calls this vineyard home. Today’s Chardonnay is elegant and fun all at once and it drinks beautifully, right out of the bottle. Let it warm up just a bit, though, and you will be rewarded with a far more flavorful, far smoother wine. This fine Chardonnay gets our heartiest recommendation, dear Operative!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Ted Osborne
WINE EDUCATION: BA in English Lit…And then on-the-job training in Napa and around the world
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Cellar Rat at Cakebread, Associate Winemaker at Storybook Mountain, Winemaker at Piña, Winemaker for Phifer Pavitt Winery, and Winemaker for Blue Hall Vineyard
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Find an outstanding vineyard with unique and untapped potential. Pick at perfect ripeness. Ferment on wild yeast, wild malolactic. Barrel down and try to leave it to its own devices at every opportunity.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”The only things that matter are flavor and aroma. All else is speculation and blindness.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2000 Olabisi Cabernet Sauvignon, (Rutherford November, 2002)
AGENT RED: Greetings, Ted. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Double Top Secret Mendocino Chardonnay today. This is one fantastic wine! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
TED OSBORNE: I am happy to be back with you, Agent Red, and I am thrilled that your Operatives love our wine!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
TED: Growing up Irish Catholic. Beyond that, there was one night when my uncle brought over a bottle of ’69 Haut Brion for the family dinner. I was 18, we were eating barbecue tri-tip and drinking this beautiful wine. Everyone at the table was apportioned less than half a glass and I savored it. We all did.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
TED: Wines from the Rhone region of France, and Ehren Jordan
RED: Who do you make wine for?
TED: I make my wines for the expression of the vineyard and for the people who want to experience what that is.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
TED: The Double Top Secret Vineyard is so named because the grower stipulated that if we use their name on the label, we must charge at leas $75 per bottle.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
TED: Lobster Bisque, Deep dish Quiche Loraine, Fried Chicken
RED: In your opinion, what makes Mendocino such a special place for Chardonnay?
TED: Mendocino, especially at this 25-year-old vineyard, can get up to 110F during the day, but then drop down to 38 over night during the growing season. These extremes produce a broad range of layered flavors and aromas in the DTS Chardonnay.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
TED: We are barreling down the reds and continuing to monitor the wild-yeast barrel ferments on the whites.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
TED: My ultimate customer is one who eventually trusts me to bring them creative and rewarding wines vintage after vintage. Trust is required because my goal is not to make the same wine I made last year. My goal is to make the best wine for a particular vineyard in a particular vintage. To succeed at that, one must let the vineyard take the lead and craft the wine around flavor of the fruit on the day it was picked.
Oh, and give at least a couple bottle some cellar time. These wines are made for now as well as the long haul.
Oh, and then make sure to enjoy the evolution of the wine in the glass. The complexity is best experienced over time.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
TED: Please drop by our tasting room for a visit the next time you’re in Napa. We’d love to meet you and share a glass or two of wine.
RED: I’ll be sure to pop in, again. I really enjoy my time in your tasting room! Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans.