Okay, so I have enough wine in the house to occasionally go to the wine rack or storage units to look for a bottle for that night’s dinner. Every now and then, I find a bottle that I had forgot all about.

Nearly a year ago I visited Carmel, Ind., shop Vine and Table on a Saturday morning and tasted my first Peterson Winery wine. I pulled that bottle out this week. The other wine reviewed here is a nice California Chard, but the comments come from a much better judge of good Chardonnay than this writer.

Peterson Winery 2008 ShinbonePeterson is a great little winemaker in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek appellation. I actually visited there in March of this year and did a very quick tasting. Peterson’s tasting room is virtually adjacent to Kokomo Vineyards.

The Shinbone is a big and rich Sonoma blend of 50 percent Shiraz, 20 percent Cabernet, 20 percent Carignane and 10 percent Petit Sirah. Dark fruit, toasted oak, and rich plum dominate the palate. This is a big food wine, make no mistake. It has a sense of terroir, but if that’s too geeky for you  – how about earthiness? The deft touch of the winemaker delivers big without overpowering.

The wine is nice and dry with a very satisfying finish. It does come in at 14.5 percent alcohol and it’s only fair to note, rather hard to find. Peterson only made 250 cases of this vintage. But I found it in Central Indiana so it’s not impossible.

These folk have a nice sense of humor too. I remember an old large-and-in-charge cat in the tasting room and some quirky humor. On the back of their wine bottle is the Peterson philosophy: 1. No soul-less wines; 2. When the land is poor, no one is rich; 3. If it ain’t got the root, it ain’t got the fruit.

How can you not love that?

Peterson Winery 2008 Shinbone, $28, Highly Recommended.

Markham 2010 Napa Chardonnay – So I’ve written here often enough that most might guess I’m not a big Chard fan. I do like some of the unoaked Chardonnay wines and love Chablis. I’m just not a fan of oaked Chardonnay.

So I often hand over a few of my traditional Chardonnay wines to my boss, Jim, who is a Chard afficionado. He has provided me a few notes before and is really getting a knack for identifying tastes, texture, and all those wine geeky things we imbibers enjoy.

Here are his thoughts on the Markham Chard:

“We really enjoyed this wine. It has a beautiful light straw color — not overly yellow and is very easy to drink with or without food. There is plenty of toast and spice on the nose, and maybe a hint of butter or butterscotch. We tasted apple and vanilla. It has a silky texture and enough oak for those who like it, but not too much.
“We had a taste straight out of the refrigerator, where it had chilled for six hours or so. It was okay, but it improved greatly as it warmed. I’d recommend drinking it between 50-60 degrees, which seemed to be the sweet spot. It flattened out a little as we drew near the end of the bottle.
“Typical alcohol content for a Chardonnay — think the bottle said 13.8 percent.
Drinks like a $20-30 bottle. Much better than the $12-15 grocery retail Chardonnays I’ve had. But very much worth the suggested $18 retail.
Markham 2010 Napa Chardonnay, SRP $18, Highly recommended.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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