Wine Review: Planeta, Chardonnay Sicilia IGT 2009

Planeta ChardonnayToday’s review is of a Sicilian Chardonnay made by excellent Sicilian winemakers Planeta from whom we have previously reviewed their outstanding Nero d’Avola “Santa Cecilia” and their Syrah – specifically, today we are going to review PlanetaChardonnay Sicilia IGT 2009 ($35).

Will it be in the same league as their wonderful reds? Keep reading and let’s find out together! :-)

The Bottom Line

Overall: What can I say… a spectacular wine and excellent value for money! A wonderful golden color, a sensuous, complex, multi-layered bouquet that strikes a perfect balance between fruity secondary aromas and delicate tertiary aromas, luscious on the palate with a kaleidoscope of delicious flavors; acidic, tasty and super long. This is a wine that should be tasted by those who are skeptical about Italian whites in general or about Chardonnay’s potential in warmer climates such as Sicily. Oh Man… This is a wine with the “wow” factor!

Rating: Spectacular and, needless to say, wholeheartedly Recommended! Spectacular - $$

(Explanation of our Rating and Pricing Systems)

About the Grape

Chardonnay is a white-berried variety that is indigenous to the French area between Lyon and Dijon, encompassing Burgundy and Champagne. The earliest documented mention of Chardonnay dates back to the late XVII century in the village of Saint Sorlin (today known as La Roche Vineuse) under the name “Chardonnet“, although the variety takes its name from the village of Chardonnay near the town of Uchizy in southern Burgundy.

DNA analysis showed that Chardonnay is a natural cross between Pinot and Gouais Blanc.

Chardonnay Rose is a color mutation of Chardonnay, while Chardonnay Musque’ is a mutation with Muscat-like aromas.

Chardonnay is one of the most versatile and adaptable white grape varieties, which explains in part why it has been so extensively grown all over the world. Chardonnay grapes are generally high in sugar levels and do not have a dominant flavor of their own, so the wines made out of them tend to take on a variety of aromas depending on where the grapes are grown and how the wines are made. Thus Chardonnays run the gamut from subtle and savory to rich and spicy still wines as well as being one of the base wines for Champagne and other Classic Method sparkling wines.

Chardonnay is a typical international variety given how widely it is cultivated on a worldwide basis, from native France, to Italy, North and South America and Australia.

(Information on the grape variety taken from Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, Allen Lane 2012 – for more information about grape varieties in general, check out our Grape Variety Archive)

About the Estate

Planeta’s Chardonnay is made out of grapes coming from the 51 HA Ulmo vineyard and the 42 HA Maroccoli vineyard (the latter situated at 1,475 ft/450 mt above sea level) within Planeta’s Ulmo estate, located near the town of Sambuca di Sicilia (Agrigento), on the western coast of Sicily. The density of the Chardonnay vines in the two vineyards is between 3,800 and 4,500 vines/HA.

Ulmo is the first and the oldest among Planeta’s current estates: it became operational in 1995, along with its winery, and it encompasses 93 HA of vineyards where Chardonnay, Merlot, Grecanico, Nero d’Avola and Syrah are grown to make certain of the wines in the Planeta lineup, including their Chardonnay “supercru“.

Our Detailed Review

The Planeta, Chardonnay Sicilia IGT 2009 that I had was 13.5% ABV and retails in the US for about $35.

The wine was made from 100% Chardonnay grapes grown in Planeta’s Ulmo and Maroccoli vineyards (on which, see above for more information). It fermented for 15 days in French oak barrique barrels (50% new and 50% previously used ones) with the addition of selected yeasts.

As usual, for my review I will use a simplified version of the ISA wine tasting protocol that we described in a previous post: should you have doubts as to any of the terms used below please refer to that post for a refresher.

In the glass, it poured a rich, golden color, thick when swirled.

On the nose, it was intense, delectably complex and excellent, with aromas of banana, melon, grapefruit, lemon, peach, hints of herbs (rosemary), hazelnut and minerals.

In the mouth, the wine was dry, warm, smooth; fresh and tasty. It was full-bodied and masterfully balanced, with intense and excellent mouth flavors of peach, lemon, almond, minerals, herbs and hints of acacia honey. Its finish was exquisitely long and its evolutionary state was ready (i.e., wonderful to enjoy now, but it might be even better, more complex if it rests one or two more years in your cellar).

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About Stefano

I am a photographer and an ISA certified sommelier. I contribute to two blogs, Flora's Table (the fine cooking and wine blog - www.florastable.com) and Clicks & Corks (my photography and wine blog - www.clicksandcorks.com). My photography Web site is at www.StefanoCrosio.com
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12 Responses to Wine Review: Planeta, Chardonnay Sicilia IGT 2009

  1. Fig & Quince says:

    I do like to be both buzzed and wow’d by wine! ;) You conduct such pleasant research!

    • Stefano says:

      Isn’t it so, Azita? ;-) Thank you for your comment and apologies for my late reply. If you got a chance, give this Chard a try: I have a sense it will not let you down! :-)

  2. Gosh Stefano, that’s a very strong recommendation. I am going to try to track down a bottle here. The price given the quality sounds reasonable. ;)

    Enjoy the rest of the week. ;)

    • Stefano says:

      Dear B, apologies for my late reply… Yes, I am going all in here, with no reservations! I keep being fascinated by the aromatic and flavor palettes of this unique Chardonnay, so very unlike most others that you have tried so far and will taste in the future. And this is so refreshing, considering how “standardized” most Chardonnay has become, which makes things rather boring. Planeta’s Chard spices things up a bit, which in my book is a very good thing!
      I really hope that you get to try it and, if you do, I also hope that you will give me your honest opinion about how you liked it.
      Take care, dear B.

  3. Another great review! I haven’t had the pleasure to try the 2009, but I have enjoyed other vintages. I also like their Cometa, which is made from Fiano and therefore a bit more original.

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you, Stefan, and apologies for my late reply.
      I love the Cometa too, which will be the subject of a specific review at some point farther down the road. However, despite this being a Chardonnay, I think it is equally as original due to its unique aromatic and flavor palettes, so unlike most other Chards on the market!
      Take care! :-)

  4. I love it! I also had the chance to taste their olive oil, it was great!

    • Stefano says:

      Thank you very much for your comment and apologies for my much belated reply. I am glad to hear that you love it too! I have never had a chance to try their olive oil though – I bet it must be very good too. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

  5. Anything Sicilian has my immediate attention. I also see I can buy this wine in the UK and at a fair price. This is one that I might have passed by but with your recommendation Stefano I shall be buying it. Thank you.

    • Stefano says:

      Dear Maria, I think you can’t go wrong with this wine: if you get to taste it, please make sure to let me know how you like it! Thank you for your always supportive comments. :-)

  6. Really strong recommendation, I have only been wowed a few times, so now I have to find this wine and try it. I will be searching this one out.

    • Stefano says:

      Hi Suzanne – thank you for your comment and apologies for my much belated reply. I really love this wine so yes, I do wholeheartedly recommend it. If you get to try it, please let me know what you think of it! :-)

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