TN: 2013 Liquid Farm Chardonnay White Hill

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D@vid Bu3ker
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#1 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 25th, 2015, 4:39 am

2013 Liquid Farm Chardonnay White Hill - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills (8/24/2015)
After reading a number of comments comparing this to Chablis I was (not surprisingly) disappointed. The fruit is crisp, but there is a lack of minerality in the wine. It's pretty much one note. Ultimately boring.

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#2 Post by Michae1 P0wers » August 25th, 2015, 6:12 am

I also found insufficient acidity. It wasn't bad, just lacked a bit of verve. My take on LF has been that they are well made wines, moving CA chard in a direction that I am happy to see, but ultimately that I'm better off spending my money on French Chardonnay.

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#3 Post by Robert Grenley » August 25th, 2015, 9:15 am

+1
From reading several notes on the boards I was led to expect a more "white burgundy" type of experience, while what I tasted was much more like a good CA chard experience, which is not something I seek out.
Much closer was my first bottle of Rhys alpine Chard I tried last weekend, the 08.
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#4 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 25th, 2015, 9:29 am

So far the Rhys Chardonnays are closer to hitting my sweet spot. Not for Chablis, but for a more complete Chardonnay experience. I've had one bottle of Littorai, and that was promising as well. I am still on the fence with Ceritas, but leaning yes.

Still have not tried Hardy's D&R Chardonnay.

Chardonnays moved to the "no" pile for me are Liquid Farm, Arnot-Roberts and Wind Gap.
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#5 Post by Robert Pavlovich » August 25th, 2015, 10:59 am

Robert Grenley wrote:+1
From reading several notes on the boards I was led to expect a more "white burgundy" type of experience, while what I tasted was much more like a good CA chard experience, which is not something I seek out.
Much closer was my first bottle of Rhys alpine Chard I tried last weekend, the 08.
The 2011 hit that spot (white burg) pretty well with some new world flair. Seems it hasn't been carried over into the warmer vintages. Too bad, hope it gets back to a leaner style in future because the fruit sources seem nice though not sure if Clos Pepe will be maintained.

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#6 Post by Warren Taranow » August 26th, 2015, 9:38 pm

I loved the LFWH '11 (great cut and minerals), liked the '12 (a bit bigger but less delineated than the '11), and haven't tried the '13. I also really liked the '13 Arnot Roberts (both chards), so to each his own.

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#7 Post by Loren Sonkin » August 27th, 2015, 4:30 am

It does sound like the LF Chards to a change of style in 13. I have only had a limited sample size but the earlier ones I had displayed more cut and verve and less oak than the 13s. I don't know if this was intentional or the vintage.
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#8 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 27th, 2015, 4:42 am

Wasn't '11 a cool vintage overall across CA (not just Napa/Sonoma)? Does it make sense to assign the results of an uncharacteristic year to a winery's style?
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#9 Post by Dusty Gillson » August 27th, 2015, 6:32 am

Your sentiments are not exactly mirrored by the rest of the Cellartracker notes, as you mentioned. There are a couple of less than stellar reviews, but is it possible you had an off bottle?

"tangy, with lots of mineral"
"There were no minerals present."
"refreshing finish built on green apple, kiwi and mineral."
"fairly mineral driven finish"
"great minerality and lemon zest. I loved the acid balance."
"Not much extraction or minerality here"

Clearly, people can't agree on what mineral means, which is a known issue IMHO.
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#10 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 27th, 2015, 6:39 am

Regardless of the meaning of mineral it was a boring wine.
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#11 Post by RyanC » August 27th, 2015, 6:40 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:So far the Rhys Chardonnays are closer to hitting my sweet spot. Not for Chablis, but for a more complete Chardonnay experience. I've had one bottle of Littorai, and that was promising as well. I am still on the fence with Ceritas, but leaning yes.

Still have not tried Hardy's D&R Chardonnay.

Chardonnays moved to the "no" pile for me are Liquid Farm, Arnot-Roberts and Wind Gap.
These are almost precisely my conclusions from my attempt to explore California Chard to a greater extent. I've tried the D&R Chard and I like it a lot, but it is not at all similar to White Burgundy. Just a gentle, balanced, refreshing Chardonnay that doesn't shout.
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#12 Post by D@v1dZ » August 27th, 2015, 6:54 am

I'm with David. When I've tasted blindly (twice) the LF bottles didn't distinguish themselves, and I've had other mediocre bottles non-blind. A couple of good ones, too, but way too much inconsistency to justify the price.

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#13 Post by Dusty Gillson » August 27th, 2015, 7:10 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:Regardless of the meaning of mineral it was a boring wine.
Don't you mean:

"very good/excellent, and a good QPR"
"good depth despite a lightweight, crystalline style"
"Beautiful! Well balanced."
"I love this wine."

? newhere

I haven't had it yet, but also between the 2011/2012's from LF, I haven't had one I didn't enjoy considerably. This note, however, compares to yours and maybe also hints at an off bottle:

"A prior bottle of this wine tasted light to the point of anonymity."

I have a few of these and am torn whether to drink one now, or give it a chance to show better if it is doing this now.
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#14 Post by Dan Hammer » August 27th, 2015, 7:14 am

I'm glad I'm not an expert like the rest of you.

My notes from earlier in the month. After drinking the flagship Golden Slope earlier in the year, I knew to expect something good with the White Hill. Oh boy! This was the best California chard I've had since a Freeman Akiko a couple of years back. The nose was intoxicating. This is a full bodied, elegant, and graceful wine. Good balance. There were no minerals present. A nice, pardon the pun, golden color. If you like your chards with butter and oak, look elsewhere. None of that was present here. At the Berserker day price, this is great QPR. Glad I have another bottle left. Drink now or hold
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#15 Post by D@v1dZ » August 27th, 2015, 7:17 am

Dan Hammer wrote:I'm glad I'm not an expert like the rest of you.

My notes from earlier in the month. After drinking the flagship Golden Slope earlier in the year, I knew to expect something good with the White Hill. Oh boy! This was the best California chard I've had since a Freeman Akiko a couple of years back. The nose was intoxicating. This is a full bodied, elegant, and graceful wine. Good balance. There were no minerals present. A nice, pardon the pun, golden color. If you like your chards with butter and oak, look elsewhere. None of that was present here. At the Berserker day price, this is great QPR. Glad I have another bottle left. Drink now or hold

Bolded for emphasis. This is, me thinks, part of the disconnect. Important to strip the wine from the hype.

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#16 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » August 27th, 2015, 8:56 pm

Thread drift, but I would encourage you guys to try some of the Chardonnays coming from the Willamette Valley. Oregon, IMHO, does not produce Chablis-like wines but my favorites definitely remind me of France more than California.

Wines I have tasted and highly recommend:

Crowley-particularly the Four Winds bottling.

Walter Scott, Cuvée Anne

Cameron, Abbey Ridge

Eyrie, Reserve

Brickhouse

Full disclosure, I am ITB in Oregon(Matello/Goodfellow Family Cellars and I make 2 Chardonnays currently). White Burgundy is what I always felt Chardonnay was about. I drink a fair amount of it still but have genuinely become a fan of Oregon Chardonnay, both my own and the ones listed above.
There are quite a few more good/very good/great wines than the set I listed but the producers on my list are smaller producers that I believe, along with myself, are dedicated to an expression of Chardonnay that, based upon your comments, most of you would enjoy quite a bit.
I have had a few comparisons of my 2012 Chardonnays to France but for my own two cents, 2012s have more flesh than the newly released 2013s. The 2013s have the textural intensity combined with electric acidity, and deeper less fruit oriented flavors than the 2012s.

Anyway, this is just a suggestion since it
seems like a fair number of posters had issues with lack of acidity in the LF.
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#17 Post by Daniel McIntosh » August 28th, 2015, 6:23 am

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:Thread drift, but I would encourage you guys to try some of the Chardonnays coming from the Willamette Valley. Oregon, IMHO, does not produce Chablis-like wines but my favorites definitely remind me of France more than California.

Wines I have tasted and highly recommend:

Crowley-particularly the Four Winds bottling.

Walter Scott, Cuvée Anne

Cameron, Abbey Ridge

Eyrie, Reserve

Brickhouse

Full disclosure, I am ITB in Oregon(Matello/Goodfellow Family Cellars and I make 2 Chardonnays currently). White Burgundy is what I always felt Chardonnay was about. I drink a fair amount of it still but have genuinely become a fan of Oregon Chardonnay, both my own and the ones listed above.
There are quite a few more good/very good/great wines than the set I listed but the producers on my list are smaller producers that I believe, along with myself, are dedicated to an expression of Chardonnay that, based upon your comments, most of you would enjoy quite a bit.
I have had a few comparisons of my 2012 Chardonnays to France but for my own two cents, 2012s have more flesh than the newly released 2013s. The 2013s have the textural intensity combined with electric acidity, and deeper less fruit oriented flavors than the 2012s.

Anyway, this is just a suggestion since it
seems like a fair number of posters had issues with lack of acidity in the LF.
I've had 2 bottles of the 2013 White Hill and both featured plenty of acidity and minerals. As did the 2012. I haven't had the 2011.

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#18 Post by Michae1 P0wers » August 28th, 2015, 6:31 am

Daniel, I've had two as well and found them both flat, lacking in acid or minerals. Detected too much oak on the second as well, but I'm rather sensitive. Went into this wanting to like it based on the Chablis-in-Cali hype. Also, the people there at LF were/are great to work with and that made me want to like it even more. It made me understand a bit why some people seem to love CA wines more because of the relationships they can form with the people making the wines. For me though, the wines have to stand on their own.

Also had the la Hermana, which was a fatter wine but I may have liked more for what it was (as opposed to what the WH wasn't) and the rose, which paled next to a Gros Nore Bandol rose, but was really quite nice on its own.

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#19 Post by Daniel McIntosh » August 28th, 2015, 7:44 am

Michael, as they say "to each his own." As an example, I find aged Donnhoffs to be flat, flabby and boring (a 2005 Selbach-Oster Auslese I had last night was nothing short of spectacular.) Hell, most go down the drain. David Bueker does not. He relentlessly mocks that view and yet has this analysis of LF. Which is just fine. I have no problem with that; it's just very interesting to me. Although I do crave acidity and minerals in my whites I do not look for a chablis-like experience in anything from California. To state maybe the obvious I do find the LF style to be fuller than say Rhys. That said my favorite chardonnay of this summer (admittedly at least partly because of the ridiculous QPR) has been the 2013 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara.

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#20 Post by Jeff Loftus » August 28th, 2015, 7:56 am

Daniel McIntosh wrote:Michael, as they say "to each his own." As an example, I find aged Donnhoffs to be flat, flabby and boring (a 2005 Selbach-Oster Auslese I had last night was nothing short of spectacular.) Hell, most go down the drain. David Bueker does not. He relentlessly mocks that view and yet has this analysis of LF. Which is just fine. I have no problem with that; it's just very interesting to me. Although I do crave acidity and minerals in my whites I do not look for a chablis-like experience in anything from California. To state maybe the obvious I do find the LF style to be fuller than say Rhys. That said my favorite chardonnay of this summer (admittedly at least partly because of the ridiculous QPR) has been the 2013 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara.
+1 on the ridic QPR of ABC (for my specific taste). I pop into local wine stores at times just to see if they brought in more of their basic Chard or PN. They are now extremely hard to find anywhere on the shelves.

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#21 Post by RyanC » August 28th, 2015, 8:04 am

Jeff Loftus wrote:
Daniel McIntosh wrote:Michael, as they say "to each his own." As an example, I find aged Donnhoffs to be flat, flabby and boring (a 2005 Selbach-Oster Auslese I had last night was nothing short of spectacular.) Hell, most go down the drain. David Bueker does not. He relentlessly mocks that view and yet has this analysis of LF. Which is just fine. I have no problem with that; it's just very interesting to me. Although I do crave acidity and minerals in my whites I do not look for a chablis-like experience in anything from California. To state maybe the obvious I do find the LF style to be fuller than say Rhys. That said my favorite chardonnay of this summer (admittedly at least partly because of the ridiculous QPR) has been the 2013 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara.
+1 on the ridic QPR of ABC (for my specific taste). I pop into local wine stores at times just to see if they brought in more of their basic Chard or PN. They are now extremely hard to find anywhere on the shelves.
Lots of talk of the QPR of '13 ABC Chard recently, so I picked one up at the local Spec's, which had plenty on the shelf. And it's not for me. It's balanced and well made. But it has a little bit of a popcorn character and lacks the lift and minerality that generally defines good Chardonnay for me. I will not be buying again. For the same price, I'd much rather have a good muscadet or low-level dry riesling or gruner from Germany or Austria. The only California Chard's the I've come to *really* like are the ones from Rhys and a couple from Ramey. I like Ceritas but have stopped buying. Just shows how we all look for different things in wine.
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#22 Post by Michae1 P0wers » August 28th, 2015, 8:05 am

Daniel McIntosh wrote:Michael, as they say "to each his own." As an example, I find aged Donnhoffs to be flat, flabby and boring (a 2005 Selbach-Oster Auslese I had last night was nothing short of spectacular.) Hell, most go down the drain. David Bueker does not. He relentlessly mocks that view and yet has this analysis of LF. Which is just fine. I have no problem with that; it's just very interesting to me. Although I do crave acidity and minerals in my whites I do not look for a chablis-like experience in anything from California. To state maybe the obvious I do find the LF style to be fuller than say Rhys. That said my favorite chardonnay of this summer (admittedly at least partly because of the ridiculous QPR) has been the 2013 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara.
That is true Daniel certainly, and clearly many love the LF wines. I hope they continue to do well. But it is fair to have a counterpoint here since what is normally posted here is pure lovefest. I'm just saying that if you have an old world palate are looking for that great white hope of CA Chard, this wine, for my taste, is not it. Some have suggested otherwise. Those people are probably more omnivorous between old world and new. Sometimes those of us with feet firmly in one camp merely wish to see if there is something to be had in the other. For instance, I like Oregon PN very much, and should likely be looking there for older-world-styled whites.

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#23 Post by Daniel McIntosh » August 28th, 2015, 9:30 am

I've not had anything from Cali or anywhere else that compares to the best white Burgs I've had. They'll always be different. Not that I think it's not worth trying, at least going in that direction.

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#24 Post by Doug Schulman » August 28th, 2015, 10:01 am

I've only had 2 bottles from this producer. One was so reductive that I would be close to calling the bottle faulty. The other was also quite reductive, but much less so. It was nice, but certainly not mineral at all, unless one counts the reductive character, which can come across that way. I would bet that's what is tricking many tasters into thinking "mineral".

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#25 Post by Chris Seiber » August 28th, 2015, 10:57 am

Michael Powers wrote:Daniel, I've had two as well and found them both flat, lacking in acid or minerals. Detected too much oak on the second as well, but I'm rather sensitive. Went into this wanting to like it based on the Chablis-in-Cali hype. Also, the people there at LF were/are great to work with and that made me want to like it even more. It made me understand a bit why some people seem to love CA wines more because of the relationships they can form with the people making the wines. For me though, the wines have to stand on their own.
Your point is a fair one. Though is it possible you had somewhat of the reverse effect, expecting something you were going to love and expecting it to fit a certain flavor profile, then being disappointed when it was not quite that?

I'm not questioning your opinion of the wine, just engaging on the general point of how expectations can sometimes make us find a way to like a wine more than we would have, but can also sometimes cause us to like it less than we would have.

One interesting case study is Robert Parker trying Kosta Browne for the first time. You can see in his comments how he ended up not liking them because he expected them to be extreme in one way and they turned out not to be extreme enough.
"I purchased four Kosta Browne Pinot Noirs from one of the Mark Squires’ Bulletin Board members (who graciously offered them) since I am unable to find them in the state of Maryland and I have been wanting to taste them since they have been getting such rave reviews. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. They are not bad wines, but I had read that they were “massive,” “syrupy,” and “opulent,” and none of these wines were. In fact, three of them seemed to have unnaturally high levels of acidity . . ."

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#26 Post by m. ristev » August 28th, 2015, 11:20 am

after hearing many good things about liquid farm i was quite curious to taste some but it seems not worth it after i keep seeing notes like this. on a related note i tried the 13 abc on a whim and frankly was disgusted. aromas where very synthetic like banana runts and the palate was very disjointed and harsh. i hope it was a bad bottle but for $15 i thought it was poor value.
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#27 Post by Michae1 P0wers » August 28th, 2015, 11:42 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
Michael Powers wrote:Daniel, I've had two as well and found them both flat, lacking in acid or minerals. Detected too much oak on the second as well, but I'm rather sensitive. Went into this wanting to like it based on the Chablis-in-Cali hype. Also, the people there at LF were/are great to work with and that made me want to like it even more. It made me understand a bit why some people seem to love CA wines more because of the relationships they can form with the people making the wines. For me though, the wines have to stand on their own.
Your point is a fair one. Though is it possible you had somewhat of the reverse effect, expecting something you were going to love and expecting it to fit a certain flavor profile, then being disappointed when it was not quite that?

I'm not questioning your opinion of the wine, just engaging on the general point of how expectations can sometimes make us find a way to like a wine more than we would have, but can also sometimes cause us to like it less than we would have.
Well, at some point I think trying to dissect pre-conceived notions is kind of pointless, particularly if you trust you palate. For instance, I wanted this to be good, and the hype pointed to Chablis, but I still approached with a fair degree of skepticism that such a thing was possible, if with a bit of hope that it was. However, having had this wine twice and two other LF wines once I believe my grasp of the wines are sound. Doesn't mean that they won't improve and/or won't impress others more, but I trust my opinions at this point.

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#28 Post by Michae1 P0wers » August 28th, 2015, 11:46 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
Michael Powers wrote:Daniel, I've had two as well and found them both flat, lacking in acid or minerals. Detected too much oak on the second as well, but I'm rather sensitive. Went into this wanting to like it based on the Chablis-in-Cali hype. Also, the people there at LF were/are great to work with and that made me want to like it even more. It made me understand a bit why some people seem to love CA wines more because of the relationships they can form with the people making the wines. For me though, the wines have to stand on their own.
Your point is a fair one. Though is it possible you had somewhat of the reverse effect, expecting something you were going to love and expecting it to fit a certain flavor profile, then being disappointed when it was not quite that?

I'm not questioning your opinion of the wine, just engaging on the general point of how expectations can sometimes make us find a way to like a wine more than we would have, but can also sometimes cause us to like it less than we would have.
Well, at some point I think trying to dissect pre-conceived notions is kind of pointless, particularly if you trust your palate. For instance, I wanted this to be good and in a certain style - certainly the word Chablis had been bandied-about - but I still approached with a fair degree of skepticism that such a thing was possible, if also with a bit of hope that it was.

Having had this wine twice and two other LF wines once I believe my grasp of the wines are sound. Doesn't mean that they won't improve and/or won't impress others more, but I trust my opinions at this point.
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#29 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 28th, 2015, 11:47 am

Even the flabbiest Donnhoff Riesling likely has demonstrably more g/l of acid as any California Chardonnay. (And for the record I find the '99s from Donnhoff too soft...)
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#30 Post by Chris Seiber » August 28th, 2015, 3:29 pm

Michael, I fear you took my comment as an attack on your conclusion, and it wasn't meant that way. But since you were talking about how outside factors can affect the perception of a wine, I was just musing about what you might have thought of the wine if someone had just poured you a glass and said "here's a glass of a California chardonnay." Perhaps you would have been pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed? Who knows.

I really fell for LF with the 2011 White Hill, which, in my opinion, did have a lot of things in common with Chablis. But 2011 was the coolest year ever in California, and the 2012 and 2013 were not nearly as chiseled. Still good wines in their own ways, but the 2012 and 2013 don't make me think of Chablis.

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#31 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 28th, 2015, 3:51 pm

For what it's worth, I actively disliked their rosé as well, so dropping is no burden.
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TN: 2013 Liquid Farm Chardonnay White Hill

#32 Post by Frank Murray III » August 28th, 2015, 3:57 pm

I really fell hard for the 2011 White Hill. I caught it blind in a larger flight back in 2013 and it grabbed me big time. I do hope the LF wines are not getting hit with more oak and allowed to be made more ripe in style, as for me, what made LF so good was the Chablis-like comparisons. I called the 2011 WH Chablis-like and having tasted it blind, it rung true for the other side of the ocean for me and I stand by that complement I paid that wine.

I miss Nikki the Nerd posting here and maybe she'll come back and grab this thread--not sure anymore how much winemakers want to tread into here but we have beat that topic up separately in other threads.

LF are great people, they have supported my annual charity gig the last few years, attending in person. I just hope whatever is being said above is a blip on their style curve, as I'd be disappointed if their wines got fuller in style.
My best wines for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

Kindness matters.

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Sc0tt F!tzger@ld
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TN: 2013 Liquid Farm Chardonnay White Hill

#33 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » August 28th, 2015, 4:43 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:I really fell hard for the 2011 White Hill. I caught it blind in a larger flight back in 2013 and it grabbed me big time. I do hope the LF wines are not getting hit with more oak and allowed to be made more ripe in style, as for me, what made LF so good was the Chablis-like comparisons. I called the 2011 WH Chablis-like and having tasted it blind, it rung true for the other side of the ocean for me and I stand by that complement I paid that wine.

I miss Nikki the Nerd posting here and maybe she'll come back and grab this thread--not sure anymore how much winemakers want to tread into here but we have beat that topic up separately in other threads.

LF are great people, they have supported my annual charity gig the last few years, attending in person. I just hope whatever is being said above is a blip on their style curve, as I'd be disappointed if their wines got fuller in style.
This. Well said, Frank.

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bob poirier
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Location: North Shore Mass

TN: 2013 Liquid Farm Chardonnay White Hill

#34 Post by bob poirier » August 28th, 2015, 4:56 pm

The 2010 and 2011 White Hills I thought had an amazing salinity to them while still be clearly Californian which I appreciate 12 & 13 are different but in my opinion are still delicious. I appreciate that they make leaner and fuller styles as I enjoy both. The Golden slope is our preferred, I like the extra body the wood gives and the spicy almond butter note I get( lees contact, Malo?) keeps me coming back.

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