And the Handley Chardonnay, more than just a stream of me being proven wrong about the grape, the varietal, that problematic genre in oenology– no, this has its own -scape, and diction, and curvature with its apple-ized code and symmetry from scent to acidity to tactile ebb to its overriding message. And I get the sense it wants me to survey its entity and scene, how it intends on greeting all my senses and receptors– the bottle, and this last glass, knows I’m writing about it– it uses me as a translator and courier of its thesis, and it says, like Amy Tan, “It’s a luxury being a writer, because all you ever think about is life.” And this bottle and its producer and the Anderson Valley AVA bring life with it to everything it contacts. I’m smitten, enamored, befuddled, and seized by its synecdoche of notes and plays on my perception. Yes, it’s Chardonnay, but so many, especially sommeliers, talk about “varietal integrity”. Well here it is. What more could a wine chaser demand? Seriously, this writer wants to know. This is more than Handley at their best, this is the AV producer being what I would note equitable, candid, conversational– speaking through the Chardonnay varietal and showing what it wants us to know about its feel and voice, and tone, octave, beaming character oscillation.
I’m now more open to Chardonnays as you may know but this one teaches me even more than I ever expected to learn about the Burgundian loop-grape. This is more than just “stylistic”. It’s honest. Declarative. Instructional and comedic in how it appears to mock other Chardonnay attempts and projects. “This is Chardonnay, real Chardonnay,” I say to myself, here at the kitchen counter, staring at an empty glass. And I’m not “scoring” it as I don’t have to. This is just a note denoting and connoting that I respect this wine and the producer and how it makes me envision the Road and what I’ll write about so many tomorrows from now. Fantasized glass apparition presence–