Friday, September 10, 2021

Longevity Chardonnay (2019)

A few months ago, I was strolling through the county liquor store, perusing the wine selection.  This trip was intentional, because, I was on the lookout for some new wines to try.  I was particularly focused on new regions or varietals. However, one thing caught my eye. It was three letters: "BLM." The letters stood for "Black Lives Matters," and, as it turns out, the county liquor store was highlighting African-American owned wineries and vineyards.  The one that got my attention was a Chardonnay from Longevity.

Longevity Wines is a family owned winery located in the Livermore Valley of California.  It is a certified minority owned winery, run by Debra and Phil Long.  As their website explains, Debra Long chose the name Longevity as a play on their last name, as well as an expression of the love she shares with Phil and producing wine. 

The Longs produce their wines using local grapes from the Livermore Valley.  The valley is one of one hundred and forty-two (142) American Viticultural Areas or AVAs located in the State of California. The Livermore Valley AVA is located around, as the name suggests, the city of Livermore in the Tri-Valley region.  There is a relatively long history of winegrowing in the area, with the most popular varietal being Petit Sirah. However, that is not the only varietal grown in the AVA.  There are over thirty varietals grown there, and, the list reads like an around the world tour of wine grapes including varietals typically associated with France (like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and others), Germany (such as Gewurztraminer), Italy (including Barbera and Sangiovese), Spain (Tempranillo) and even Portugal (such as Souzao and Touriga Nacional).

But, it is the Chardonnay from Longevity Wines that got my attention. Not just the fact that the winery is owned by an African-American (which is notable), but also the wine itself.  This is one of the few wine reviews that I have done where both my beautiful Angel and myself have actually tried a couple of the bottles of the wine. (Usually, I do a review based on the first bottle.)

When we purchased the first bottle, both my Angel and I thought that this wine was truly unique.  We both sensed flowers and some fruit in the aromas.  Flowers are not something that I would ordinarily expect from a Chardonnay.  But, there may be a reason for our initial impression.  Both my Angel and I have been leaning toward unoaked Chardonnay wines.  Those wines tend to be lighter and crisper, while oaked Chardonnay wines tend to develop more mellow tones, such as vanilla and butter.

When it comes to Longevity, the winemakers note that the wine is made with 100% Chardonnay grapes, which underwent "nine (9) months of fermentation in 20% new French oak barrels combined with 100% malolactic fermentation." The time spent in those barrels give rise to aromas and flavors that those winemakers describe "rich, complex, well rounded and full of ripe fruit and crisp acidity."  "In other words," they add, "think of aromas as apricot, pineapple, Asian pear, sweet vanilla and butterscotch."  

With our second bottle, the oaked presence seemed to become more pronounced. I could definitely sense the apricots and pears, as well as that vanilla and butterscotch. While those elements are definitely present, they are not overpowering, as some oaked Chardonnays can get.  For the price of about $12.99 a bottle, this is definitely a wine worth keeping around the house, either for guests or just when you want a glass while you are cooking. 


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