One of the secrets surrounding Wednesday night's White House State Dinner with British Prime Minister David Cameron was the wine list, which actually turns out to be pretty reasonably priced, as these sorts of things go. The administration had decided not to reveal its selections after it took heat for serving Chinese President Hu Jintao a $115 bottle of 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon that skyrocketed to $399 by dinner time. But Grub Street found a Cellar Tracker write-up of the list from Wednesday that revealed the most expensive bottle served on Wednesday night was a 2009 Peter Michael Chardonnay Ma Belle-Fille, from California, that retailed for about $80. How was it? One attendee described it as a "Prototypical Cali Chard. Lots of toasted marshmallow and vanilla but with nice, acidic notes of lemon curd to keep it reasonably refreshing."
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According to K&L Wine Merchants, quoting Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, the wine features a "heady, exotically perfumed bouquet of dried pear, peach pit, candied lemon, iodine and smoky lees, plus a suave floral quality and a touch of anise. Enters rich and weighty but quickly gains tension, offering zesty citrus and orchard fruit flavors and an intense, almost saline mineral underpinning. Finishes smoky and extremely long, with the iodine and pear notes echoing."
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And, via Cellartracker's user Paul S., "It had a very attractive, expressive nose, full of exuberant fruit -- peach, nectarine, tangerines, flowers and spice, a bit of earth, a touch of sweet oak. Clearly new world, but really complex, very pretty.... From first sip, it spread through the mouth with fleshy gobs of peach, nectarine and melons with a touch of citrus at the edges. The finish ended with bits of spice sprinkled over a core of pear fruit. This was delicious in a hedonistic new world style, perhaps more than any of the other wines, but it was still blessed with lot of complexity and a good sense of balance. Really yummy stuff even now, this is perhaps the earliest drinking of the lot."
Unlike the massive price hike that 2005 cab experienced, the 2009 chardonnay is still available for a reasonable enough price. It's averaging $100 on Wine-Searcher right now (including some $80 bottles), and K&L will ship you a bottle for $85.