Cut from the cloth of the common man, the Fat Monk is on a mission to redefine one of life’s greatest pleasures as an everyday delight. Joyfully devoted to his passion for great grapes, he produces carefully crafted vintages from a secluded spot in the sun-drenched hills of California and invites you to blend the devine with your day-to-day.
Supple and nuanced, Fat Monk Chardonnay has an inviting nose of marzipan, straw, and lime. Its ripe character is lush with flavors of almond, honeydew melon, and apple. Gentle acidity balances the creamy mouthfeel, which is complemented by spicy, well-integrated oak nuances. This Chardonnay perfectly accents poached salmon smothered in beurre blanc or steak béarnaise.
When the producers of American Idol, Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe, wanted to expand their horizons in the early 2000’s, they came to Paso Robles, California to build their dream estate: Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery. Nestled in the foothills of the Paso Robles AVA, the estate proved to produce the fruit of dreams including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, and many more. After finding success with the Bordeaux and Rhone varietals, the winemaking team decided it was time to find Burgundian fruit and create a second label, Fat Monk, which would feature Chardonnay and Pinot Noir sourced from the Central Coast of California.
In 2005, proprietors Ken & Julie Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe began the pursuit of turning their long-held dream of owning a vineyard into a reality. Once childhood friends in the backstreets of Liverpool, the Emmy-winning pair would grow up to produce the primetime hit, American Idol.
It was during their time on Idol, traveling between audition cities, that they first discovered Paso Robles, a wine region still under the radar. Not long after consulting with their families, Ken and Nigel purchased and began redevelopment of an old-vine property located at the northern edge of the Paso Robles AVA. Over ten years later, Villa San-Juliette has emerged as a premier wine destination on the Central Coast.
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IA, KS, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, WI
When Alice (thank you!) let me know I was a lab-rat to be I secretly wished Casemates was now shipping beer. We have had record breaking heat in Minnesota for over a week. And it is humid.
I exchanged an ice cold sparkling water for the Casemates box with the UPS guy. Into the fridge the bottle of Fat Monk went and 4 hours later I poured a glass of 56.6 degree straw colored wine.
The first whiff was fruity alcohol. The first taste was overwhelmingly alcohol – this wine is 14.4 percent. I paired it with herb marinated goat cheese and a cracker- and that helped to cut the alcohol.
I let the glass sit for half an hour while I tried to figure out what to have for dinner. I have to admit- I am not good at meal planning when the weather is hot- instead I just stand in the pantry and graze. In fairness- in addition to the marinated goat cheese this was paired with Angie’s popcorn, Triscuits and a handful of sunflower seeds and golden raisins.
There is some fruitiness and oakiness to the wine with a bitter finish that borders on something I can’t quite figure out. There is just a smidge of butter mid palate.
I will put it back in the fridge and try again tomorrow.
Well….day two did not improve the tasting. I did pair it with a meal of cold salmon and a green salad. The bitter finish remains.
Have a great weekend people!
@Jeanhp3 I’m here in MN too and having same quandaries about dinner…too hot to cook inside, and too hot to grill, what’s that?? Tonight we did charcuterie in the A/C… the duck pate and spanish chorizo were great. No bitter chard, thx, a merlot held fine with some chill
Alrighty…y’all know you have to take a 6 year old review on an 8 year old 15 dollar chardonnay with a grain of salt (not there is anything wrong with an 8 year old chardonnay) so here we go anyway:
87 Points. Dried lemon rind, ripe apple blossom and lime-soaked honeydew aromas show on the nose of this bottling from the team behind Villa San-Juliette. It’s simple on the palate, with very drinkable flavors of tangerine juice and caramelized almonds. MK 9/1/16
I appreciate the FWIW. I read the same reviews after tasting and I cannot figure out if those with palates more sophisticated than mine used “dried lemon rind” to describe the bitterness. I also wondered if this wine was on the edge of turning. On a positive note- it is drinkable, just not for me and might be good in spritzers or as a the second string player at a large gathering.
Let me start off this review by stating that chardonnay is not anywhere at the top of my list for my go to wines, so I really tried to taste this with an open mind.
When the delivery guy dropped it off, I immediately opened the box and chucked it into the fridge to chill for a few hours (about 5) and decided to try it on it’s own while the husband and I were playing video games.
The initial smell of this got…nothing. Absolutely nothing, other than the hint of that ‘back of the throat’ burn of alcohol. First sip of this also was pretty muted, but I definitely got a strong buttered apple minus the spices. Then a really bitter aftertaste hit me and I put the glass down.
“Just gotta let it open up” I thought. So I let it sit in the glass for 15-20 min and went in for another try. Same thing, but more butter this time and MAYBE a little bit of ‘cork’ flavor - which I laughed at because this is a screw top bottle.
All I could get from this was butter butter ALCOHOL butter and more butter, but no spice. All of that was followed up with that same bitter aftertaste.
Sorry guys, but this isn’t the wine for me. It’s dry and bitter, and almost tasted like it was slightly off. I didn’t even finish the glass. I’m honestly not sure what I’ll do with the rest of the bottle. I do want to try some more tonight, and if anything changes, I’ll report back. I might try it as a spritzer, maybe with some fruit - something that will help sweeten it up a little.
Up until now, everything I’ve been fortunate enough to lab rat was delicious and something I’d recommend. I suppose it was just a matter of time before I got something that wasn’t up my alley!
@jtallant See my informal recipe for slow-cooked chicken thighs with accidentally Maderized white wine a few posts down. I have a feeling this might be on it’s way to being that. (though spell checker rejects it no matter how I type it.)
@irenegade Agree. A “default” average-quality chard for the case price would be OK. OTOH you can pick up a couple of Central Coast (non-specific) chardonnay for $5-9/btl at TJs any day.
Earlier this year there were some French white wines of vintage 2012, 2013, which raised concern, but apparently were fine. My assumption is that those were made to tolerate (and even improve with) aging. I don’t think most typical budget California chardonnays do this. So it’s probably old warehouse stock, and may not quite survived the years as well as its French counterparts.
BTW recipe if you have old/bad white wine. Put chicken thighs in a slow-cooker (skin or skinless). Season with usual stuff (mostly S&P, some OO, other spices if you want). Add a few shallots, halved/quartered depending on size. Not finely chopped. Small onions OK too. Maybe a bit of chicken or veg stock but not to much (don’t want a soup). Add about 1/2 cup of accidentally Madeirized white wine vary quantity based on how big the pot is… Slow cook overnight (about 8 hrs). Result was really nice chicken thighs; I went seeking more bad white wine I had around – but I wouldn’t intentionally buy a case of it!
@irenegade Indeed I haven’t seen or tasted this wine so I don’t want to say for sure it’s like that. But the reviews plus the vintage date for a CA white wine seem to be indicating it may be heading that way.