Did I Just Drink Bourbon or Chardonnay?

My office generally has 3 interns a semester and, usually, they’re very willing to help in any way they can, regardless of whether or not the project is exciting. That’s not to say there haven’t been times when I regaled my friends with stories of outrageous intern behavior—the intern who would sit at his desk in his wife-beater instead of his suit, the interns who were caught smoking pot during lunch and subsequently dismissed, and the intern who would put his head on his desk after lunch to take a 30-minute nap every day—but those types of interns tend to be the exceptions, not the rule. Our 2009 summer interns are memorable in a different way. Last Thursday was a busy day, as big projects must be completed by June 26th or wait until after the July 4th holiday. There are several projects, one of which is mine, that have been fast-tracked to be finished before the break, and I found out about this last Thursday. Last Thursday also happened to be the annual staff appreciation ice cream social for the three office buildings where I work. So, while others went out to get bowls full of ice cream on a ridiculously hot day, several of us were stuck at our desks in the bull pen. Our amazing interns, though, brought ice cream back to the office for those of us who were missing the social, and they brought back enough for us to have flavor options! That, combined with the significant progress I made on my work project, left me feeling like Thursday was an auspicious day.

Since I was so lucky, I thought it was the perfect day to try the 2006 Clos Du Bois Calcaire Chardonnay (winery, snooth) from the Russian River Valley. Generally, I’m not a Clos Du Bois fan, even though I feel like I should like the wine, but this wine was given to me by a friend so, I was hoping that the luck from the rest of my day would continue into the evening. Plus, with The Wine Spectator describing the wine as “elegant, refined and focused,” I thought this might be the wine to change my mind about Clos Du Bois.

The 2006 Clos Du Bois Calcaire is 100% Chardonnay grapes and was aged in French oak. The French oak made the wine lighter and less complex than the oaky 2005 Robert Mondavi Chardonnay, but gave it more body than the unoaked 2007 Domaine Nathalie & Gilles Fèvre Chablis. The wine was a medium yellow with slow forming legs. On the nose, I initially found green apple, lemon, ginger, and a light toasty-oakiness. The more the wine breathed, though, the more it developed boozy aromas that overpowered the fruit scents. In the mouth, I found green apple, lime, and ginger, which had perfumey undertones that became more pronounced and overpowering as the wine breathed.

Is this worth a glass after work? This is a hard question to answer because on Night 1 the wine was just “eh”, but by Night 2, it was almost undrinkable. Some Internet searching shows the average price to be around $24. At that price, it’s not worth dirtying a perfectly clean wine glass. When drinking the wine on its own didn’t work, I tried to pair it with pan-seared shrimp in chipotle sauce from Cooking for Two: 2009, The Year’s Best Recipes Cut Down to Size. Unfortunately, that didn’t make the wine any better. The best I can say for the 2006 Clos Du Bois Calcaire is that it tasted more like drinking a watered down Bourbon than it did like drinking a Chardonnay, but that was just not working for me.

Overall: 1.5 Corks


  1. The Wine Whore says

    I have a bottle of this Chard in my fridge waiting for me to try it. I am a fan of Clos du Bois Malbec and Marlestone so I have good hopes for this one. Sounds like I need to stick to their reds.

    I'll make sure to let you know my thoughts after I give this one a shot!

    As always, great bottle shot! 🙂


  2. restaurant refugee says

    This is a bottle that spent too long on a shelf somewhere – which is not to suggest that a three year span from harvest to consumption of an French oak aged chardonnay is too long of a period. However, I tasted this wine around this time last year.

    While I was not overly impressed (not a shock since I am not a fan of Clos du Bois in general)I can attest that my experience was better than yours. Even then, I wouldn't have paid more than $12 retail for it. I was glad that I tasted it at an industry tasting.

  3. Alleigh says

    The Wine Whore–I'll be interested to see how your bottle tastes.

    Restaurant Refugee–I actually wondered on night #2 whether the problem was a wine flaw, but I've never had a wine taste like that, so I just assumed it was the style. Maybe you're right. It's good to know, though, that even when you tasted it last year that it's not something you would spend more than $12 on. Thanks for the feedback!

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