Prince Michel Barrel Select Chardonnay '04

Country: USA
Region: Virginia
Thoughts: A few pre-review notes: First off, as I did with wines from Pennsylvania, I wanted to check out East Coast wines. Virginia was important to me since that's where I live now. Hopefully sometime soon I'll make it to Barboursville Vineyards - the only Virginia winery listed in this year's Wine Spectator buyer's guide - but Prince Michel has always been a more familiar name. See, whenever I make a trip to Roanoke (no more than three times a year), I head west on I-66, south on US-29, west on I-64 and south on I-81. During that portion on 29, I wind my way through Madison County and have passed Prince Michel numerous times. I never cared to stop until recently; I never did stop until my return trip from Salem for the Group AA/A state wrestling tournament. And, upon my stop, I sampled their selection of white wines; this is also a diversion from the norm, as most every other wine here - with two notable exceptions - are reviewed after my first taste. Anyway, on with it: The sad reality is that this wine tasted better at the winery. In my sample at home, the bouquet was overwhelmed by the smell of burnt something; I later settled on burnt almonds, but it could've been any combustible material. It was harsh and a turn-off from the get-go. The nose gave away the taste, and the smokiness was dominant - such that any fruitiness or the otherwise nice crispness was rendered all but undistinguishable. Subsequent sips didn't help; the smokiness remained and the finish - spicy though unremarkable at the beginning - turned overly dry. It was a disappointing exercise, particularly since the wine had shown modest potential at the winery.
Do-over? Can't see it happening
Final Grade: C-

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