When I returned from a business trip on Thursday afternoon, amongst the pile of waiting mail, was a small "wine" package from FedEx. I had just placed a wine woot order over the previous weekend, but it wasn't for just one bottle, so I was somewhat alarmed. Did the order size get screwed up? I started to open the box, concerned that I was about to enter the customer service bureaucracy, when suddenly I spied the golden ticket from WineDavid39.
Lab rat! How cool is that?
(Don't need that bureaucrat.)
Copa Del Rey 2009 Chardonnay. I wasn't familiar with it, but since cocktail hour wasn't too far off, into the fridge it went. About an hour and a half later I screwed off the cap and poured two glasses. First impressions:
The color was pale yellow / straw, and had good clarity. Looks a bit on the lighter side within the spectrum of Chardonnays that have crossed my path.
On the nose I was immediately stuck by the freshness of the fruit, hmm, tropical and lush, with a hint of tartness, not like an apple but more like lemon or lime. Uhm... pineapple? Yeah, I'll go with pineapple. On further reflection I noted that I didn't note any oak.
Took a sip, and on the palate I found the oak. This is a full-bodied wine and the tropical fruit manifests more in a sweet-syrup sort of way (vs. the freshness on the nose.) There's also a buttery fatiness that is full and rounding in the mouth. Very drinkable.
The finish is dry, but it lasted with a touch of bitterness for me. I wouldn't say it was unpleasant, and was easily defeated by another drink. My wife didn't notice it.
Overall it was a very nice diversion from my regular bourbon on the rocks and my wife's regular glass of red.
We poured ourselves another glass to have with dinner: leftover summer turkey chili. I wasn't sure how well the Copa Del Rey would pair, but with the dominant ingredients of turkey, rice, corn and black beans I figured we be OK. Well yeah, it was OK. I think the starchiness of the rice kind of subdued the wine and left the whole pairing bland. So I suped up the chili with some sour cream and salsa verde. That made the chili infinitely better, and the wine pairing somewhat better. I was afraid that the acidity in the verde would kill the chardonnay, but it attacked the starchy rice and allowed the wine to re-emerge. In summary, not exactly a harmonious food pairing, but a fun exercise nonetheless.
The next morning we packed up the car for a long weekend away with the kids, and my wife had the foresight to bring the open bottle. After our first day of activities, we retired to the hotel, popped the Copa in the fridge, and went swimming with the kids. We returned to the room at cocktail hour and coaxed one more glass for each of us out of the bottle.
The wonderful aroma was not as evident as day one, but the wine was also colder, so maybe it was a temperature thing. The wine went down easy and that slight bitter aftertaste I was complaining about on day one was nowhere to be found. After a couple of hours in a warm humid pool room, the Copa was perfectly refreshing.
In summary, this is a good everyday wine, for when you want to drink the wine (as opposed to talking and bragging about the wine.) Before this offer came up I was thinking this felt like a $10 chardonnay, so in my opinion the $50 six-pack is a nice value.
Thanks to Woot for the Lab Rat opportunity, and happy drinking to all!