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2000 Mi Sueño Cellars Chardonnay, Los Carneros

It is good to have dreams. For Rolando Herrera, since he first set foot in the wine cellars at Stags Leap at the beginning of his career in wine, the dream was always to create his own wine. Now nearly 20 years later, that dream is embodied both literally and figuratively in his wines at Mi Sueño ("my dream")Cellars. Lucky for us, Herrera chooses to share his dreams, even if they are in volumes of less than 500 cases.

This is a classic Carneros Chardonnay in the modern California style (heavy on the new oak, and cool weather tropical fruit flavors) but not so esoteric in its construction that it won't be drinkable with food. Indeed, it garnered much attention in the last couple of years be being a favorite at White House dinners.

Tasting Notes:
Gorgeous mead yellow in the glass, this wine is redolent with tropical fruit flavors, some of the most distinct and luscious I've smelled in a while: papaya, mango, and pinapple. Also integrted into the nose is a definite aroma of oak, and just a hint of meyer lemon. In the mouth the wine is reasonably balanced, but leans a little heavy towards oak for my tastes, with flavors of kiwi, grapefruit, butter, cream, and sweet oak. This wine has a spectacular, long finish, that is very satisfying.

Food Pairing:
This is a wine that requires the right food pairing -- the mildest dishes will be overwhelmed by the wine, and will tend to make the oak flavors bitter. Look for rich, cream based sauces with meats and pastas. If you wanted to serve this wine with an appetizer, I might suggest smoked trout cakes with horseradish cream.

Overall Score: 8.5/9

How much?: I paid $35, but since the 2001 is out, the 2000 prices have gone up a bit.

I got my bottle through Porthos (they are currently selling the '01) and you may still be able to get reasonable prices on the 2000 from various places on the Internet. Try Wine Searcher.

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