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2011 Smoking Loon Steelbird Chardonnay

September 11, 2014 - Norman Bentley

I used to tell customers at my wine shop, that the best characteristic of an inexpensive wine was the absence of any bad characteristics. Once in a while though, a wine like the Steelbird Chardonnay comes along with no bad characteristics, and also some good ones, which is hard to come by these days in a Chardonnay for less than ten dollars. Even more unusual is an under ten dollar Chardonnay on the retailer's shelf which is more than two years old. The 2011 Smoking Loon Steelbird was their special 11 year (steel) anniversary edition, and if you look around you can still find it in the local marketplace.

A little extra age has brought out a little more complexity in this well-rounded, big fruit Chardonnay. The nose is a combination of the fruit basket combined with a large bouquet of flowers, which grab at your senses as soon as the bottle is uncorked. There is a noticeable citrus breeze floating atop a generous sampling of tropical fruit in its abundant flavor. The finish is crisp and clean, and begs for another sip. Best of all it is an inexpensive Chardonnay that tastes like Chardonnay. Of late, I have sampled some pleasant tasting wines which do not represent their varietal nameplate, so this is a refreshing bottle of wine in more ways than one. The alcohol content is 13.5%

The "Chardonnay Queen" and I sampled a bottle with fresh caught trout while we were in Matlacha, Florida at the "Little Cottage by the Sea". To validate our first impression, we enjoyed another bottle with some of the trout that we brought home, and proved that the first was no fluke. Our vacation in Florida was wonderful, with good fishing, good food, and good wine, all at bargain prices. Norm's score is 88.

Score: 88

Price: $8 - $10


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