Chardonnay Planeta Sicilia Menfi DOC 2016 Review And Tasting Notes
Talking about a wine like Chardonnay Planeta Sicilia Menfi DOC 2016 is always tricky. It is a massive Chardonnay full of muscles, which has very concentrated fruit and lavish sumptuousness, but also a spiciness (given by the wood) that bothers and covers the varietal until it almost transforms into a sclerotic mask.
One wonders why these French-style vanilla Chardonnay myths still chase each other when the Menfi terroir, the characteristics, and the climate of an area as sunny as Menfi are so different from the classic Burgundian Chardonnay.
The wine itself is not bad. It is the attempt to ape the French and chase a vain goal that is depressing. The desire is to cultivate the most international of grapes and be able to make it Sicilian, but how does a wine become Sicilian if what you hear is only the wood?
Where are the sun, the waves, the salt, the lemons, and the Sicilian broom in this sea of vanilla, cream, and spices? If this was the intent, they managed to do the exact opposite, or the goal was to make a wine for the US market, still so thirsty for vanilla Chardonnay.
How is it produced?
The grapes come from two of the most prestigious company crus: Maroccoli and Ulmo, a short distance from the sea, located at an altitude ranging from 250 to 415 meters above sea level. Only the best bunches are selected and crushed with a soft press and then vinified in barrique at 18 degrees—the wine age 12 months in new and used barriques.
The nose is dominated by ripe fruit, almost candied, vanilla, tobacco, and all the world’s spices—citrus fruits in the background but hiding behind a curtain of butter and custard.
The variety is so great that it is challenging to find precision in the aromatic development. Everything looks pretty exasperated, pumped up to the point of unbelievable—slightly floral finish, with iodized memories.
In the mouth, it is very broad, not muscular, but sinewy, bullish, looking for a fight with the palate, not for dialogue.
It is full, the flavor is excellent, and the only beacon that manages to give it a sense of movement, but with all this wood and the alcohol that gushes from every pore, it is hard to drink in large sips. It closes your mouth, and this is the biggest flaw for a wine, especially a white that wants to be a great wine.
If all these suggestions, this matter does not find a red thread. It remains a ball of yarn without a head or a thing.
The structure is broad, but it cannot find adequate propulsion, an acid zap that manages to give space to the saltiness, which is instead remarkable. The raw potential is there. It is all the technical cellar superstructure that has imprisoned the expressiveness of the wine.
Many will object that this is an aging Chardonnay. It will blossom and find its balance in 10 years (like Chablis and White Burgundy). But this is not the case. The fruit is already very ripe and does not necessarily have the vitality necessary to last 10 years in the cellar.
20-25 euros: the price is questionable. It is not that there is no quality. It is just that it is a wine still indelibly dominated by aging in wood. If you like vanilla smoothie-style whites, this is the wine for you. Indeed at 22 euros, it is a bargain.