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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tuesday Tasting: The Shark, Wonder Boy and Davy Crockett

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we examine three chardonnays with celebrity connections.

If you enjoy wine and are into popular culture, you can drink from bottles carrying labels featuring everyone from Frank Sinatra to KISS. Some are just marketing ploys, others are serious about the liquid inside the bottle. This week we taste three chardonnays with celebrity links that not only have star power, they deliver solid taste experiences.

Greg Norman 2005 Santa Barbara County California Estate Chardonnay ($13): As a PGA golfer he is known as The Shark. Greg Norman first launched his wine brand in Australia and now also makes wine in California. Norman is said to have been actively involved in selecting Santa Barbara as the location for his U.S. label because of the fruit characteristics typical of wines from the region. This chardonnay is refreshing with tropical hints and just a slight vanilla-oak touch. The wine emerges from the bottle ready to be consumed.

Jeff Gordon 2005 Carneros Chardonnay ($50): As a young driver making an impact on NASCAR, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. once jokingly called him Wonder Boy, now Jeff Gordon is one of the most respected race car drivers in the world. This is the second year for his wine label and the line up will expand soon to include a merlot and a cabernet sauvignon. Gordon is said to be involved in selecting the blend of the wine, which is made at Briggs & Sons Winemaking in Napa Valley. It is a firm, dry white wine with plenty of citrus and melon. There is a hint of oak, but it is clean and does not distract from the fruit. It will be interesting to see what they come up with for the reds -- said to be Gordon's favorite, but this is a high quality chardonnay

Fess Parker 2005 Santa Rita Hills Ashley's Vineyards Chardonnay ($28): Parker uses a small line drawing of a coon skin cap on the label as a simple reminder of his acting days as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. Parker's acting career ended in the 1970s and he is now active in running the winery, along with two hotels near Santa Barbara. This chardonnay has plenty of oak with nice hints of pear and some apple, finishing with a slight citrus hint. A good solid California style chardonnay.

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