Head-to-Head Review: 2015 Broadside vs. 2015 Rombauer Chardonnay (Blind Tasting)

A little something different this time out: A blind tasting and review. Broadside, so confident in the quality of its chardonnay, sent us not only its own wine for evaluation, but a bottle of Rombauer as well — often considered the benchmark for California chardonnay. The instruction: Taste them blind, and pick your favorite.

Brave move, but wholly unnecessary, really. Stylistically these two wines are absolutely nothing alike. (Broadside seems to have made some major stylistic shifts since we reviewed this bottling last year.) I had a clear favorite, but please, try this experiment or something like it, and see for yourself.

2015 Broadside Chardonnay Central Coast Wild Ferment – A very atypical chardonnay, with notes of fresh grasses, brisk lemon, grapefruit, and a smattering of baking spices — particularly nutmeg — emerging on the finish. A lively and, again, fresh wine, Broadside drinks closer to a sauvignon blanc than a California chardonnay, though hints of creaminess in the silkier-than-usual body give it ample power. A- / $17

2015 Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros – Tasting this blind was pointless. Rombauer sticks out immediately with its up-front notes of oaky vanilla and undercurrent of melon and pineapple. The ultra-creamy body offers a finish that goes on for days, but getting there can sometimes be a slog through a wall of whipped cream and confectionery. Iconic, to be sure, but not nearly as versatile as Broadside’s lighter and more lively style. B / $30

broadsidewine.com

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