A Wine Lover’s Weekly Review Of $10 Wines – A Chardonnay From Veneto, Italy

A few weeks ago I tasted this producer’s similarly priced Merlot and wondered aloud how they could possibly make such an inexpensive wine in such an expensive environment. Ditto for their Chardonnay. I don’t think that the wine is a loss leader for their Amarone, a special wine made only in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, which at almost $40 won’t be found in this column. Cesari was founded in 1935 and owns extensive vineyards on the shores of Lake Garda in Verona. This Shakespearean city is brimming with Medieval and Roman architecture including Italy’s third largest arena, still used for public events. The companion wine is an Israeli Chardonnay coming in at twice the price.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Cesari Chardonnay Delle Venezie 2012 12 % alcohol about $7.50.

In the absence of marketing materials we can start by quoting the back label “This wine has been carefully vinified from Chardonnay grapes selected from around the Veneto region. It’s (sic) clear straw colour, fruity bouquet, full and well great accompaniment for many fish dishes.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was pleasantly sweet but short. The initial meal focused on a barbecued chicken breast with a paprika dusted skin on which I squeezed a generous amount of fresh lime. The Chardonnay responded with its own lime and pleasant acidity. It was somewhat metallic. Steamed quinoa increased the liquid’s acidity and it kept giving me an agreeable metallic taste. But a barbecued chicken wing rendered Chardy’s acidity lightly sour. The side dish of steamed broccoli made the libation smoky with a little touch of the ethereal.

The second meal centered on poached eggs that were accompanied by tomatoes, garlic, ginger, basil, parsley, and onions. In response our Italian friend presented bright, almost sour acidity but was still refreshing. The mixed salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, and red onions pepped up with fresh lime was minced, unlike my words. This salad virtually wiped out the contents of my glass, which remained slightly sweet. Fresh cantaloupe gave whitey tangy acidity and not much else.

The final meal began with Wasabi-less bland Japanese rice crackers. Now the Chardonnay was lemony with just a tinge of sugar. When paired with virtually tasteless store bought boxed potato and onion perogis the wine responded in kind, but it was round. The side dish of green beans and onions in a tomato sauce rendered my drink acidic with just a twist of citrus. Fresh strawberries for dessert gave this Cesari a wisp of burnt taste.

Final verdict. This wine is border line but really for $7.50 I can’t expect something much better. Frankly I enjoyed it more than many over-oaked Chardonnays in a totally different price range.

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine with the right foods and people. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com

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