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October 13, 2007

01 Tandem, Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Sangiacomo Vineyard

"1, 2, 3, 4, tell me that you love me more. Sleepless, long nights--that is what my youth was for." It's not just that this 01 Tandem (which Parker said would last though only 2005) is alive and well. That would be enough. But the careful Burdgundian methods that the Tandem vintners apply to this chard make it completely impossible to decipher. It has nothing to do with California or Burgundy--as delicious as it is, this is not a wine hellbent on convincing me of terroir. Instead, it takes the fickle chardonnay grape and puts it in line. It uses oak for what it was intended--seasoning and longevity--so today we have a wine that, though it may be nothing like what we had on release, has matured into something that teeters on the cliff of failure. Which is a view out toward the pasture of discovery. In this, perhaps, its final good year, Tandem's coolest-climate chard hangs desperately onto the last vestiges of toasty oak. It has the burnt aroma of blonde, vanilla-scented hair. And what core of fruit has dropped away has left the taste of bitter, tannic green apples and gooseberries--the perfect complement to food. This is not your luxurious California chardonnay. It's something much more informed and impassioned. The white equivalent of pinot noir. "Sweet heart, bitter heart--now I can't tell you apart."


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