Posted by: Dallas Lawrence | April 12, 2010

And Now For Something Entirely Different – A Great Summer White for $9

Last week I reviewed the latest Pinot release from the folks at Hahn Estates and I have been meaning to put up a quick review of their 2008 Central Coast Chardonnay, marketed under their “Cycles Gladiator” label which I also had an opportunity to taste. The good folks at Hahn were kind enough to send along a sample of this white and I opened the wine for a large first weekend of summer barbeque we had at the house this past week.

The first thing you have to know about me when it comes to wine is this: I have a visceral dislike for most California white wines – with the Golden State’s Chardonnay’s sitting at the very top of my “pour this crap down the sink” list. Far too often California Chardonnay’s taste as if you are eating a slab of butter plopped atop a piece of oak bark dipped in honey. The stuff is down-right disgusting – usually.  

After I popped the cork and passed the bottle to our guests I figured it couldn’t hurt to at least taste the wine (I do like whites after all – New Zealand Sauv Blancs and Italian Pinot Grigos top my list of crisp, lightly fruit flavored summer wines). With more than a dozen witnesses to back me up I can attest that this Chardonnay shocked the heck out of me.

The 2008 Cycles Gladiator Central Coast Chardonnay replaces the oak overload usually found in California Chardonnay’s with flavors of green apple and melon. The successful palate lies in the winermaker’s decision to only barrel ferment a small portion of the Chardonnay and to add a light and crisp blend of Viognier (11%) and Pinot Gris (5%).

The end result is a nice white wine that will please everyone at your next backyard gathering – from grandma’s White Zinfandel fetish to your mom’s love for buttery Chardonnay to the current New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc crazed suburbanite crowd – for $9 a bottle,  this “cycle” is worth a spin around the block.


  1. I’m glad you’re reviewing white wines, because I like both. In your blog posts, you talk about letting red wines breathe. Do you also have to let white wines breathe to get the best flavor?

    • May just be me, but I think whites are best right from the bottle frosty cold and fresh!

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