The story behind Santa Rita 120 wine from Chile is one if national pride and resistance, well worth a read for history buffs. The 2012 Santa Rita 120 Chardonnay also shows resistance to the heavy hand of the winemaker, preferring to show off the dry fruit of the Chardonnay grape from beginning to end.
A golden hued yellow in the glass is followed by a nose full of tropical fruit aromas. The flavor of apple, cantaloupe and pineapple blend together like a symphony instead of a jazz trio where one piece dominants at a given point in time. A slight use of oak, only 10% of the juice is oak aged, with the balance tanked in stainless steel provides a nice spicy note to a strangely rounded finish given the lack of malolactic fermentation. Overall there is a clean and crisp feel to this well put together medium weight wine.
The Santa Rita 120 Chard was great on its own, but would also match up with a variety of foods, including the traditional chicken and fish recipes people associate with the Chardonnay grape. The crispness may not complement a lot of creamy sauces, but it showed well with green vegetables along with roasted chicken to name a meal that worked well for us.
The Santa Rita 120 line is available in wine stores and most grocery aisles, though you may have to search for it as the label doesn’t ‘pop’ out at the eye. It also doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves in product placement when compared to a lot of wines who regularly go on sale and give retailers something to highlight on the shelf. Expect to pay from $7 to $9 per bottle, a more than fair price for a wine of this quality. All in all I liked the Santa Rita 120 Chardonnay as a very drinkable example of the Chardonnay grape, those who like a lot of what aging in wood should probably be advised that this is a different experience, but for those who like fruit without being fruity and crisp instead of soft give this wine a try.