For those of you who aren’t strict adherents to the “ABC” philosophy – Anything But Chardonnay – National Chardonnay Day, which is on May 23, 2013, is an excellent reason to pop open a bottle or two. What’s that you say? Its just a dumb marketing gimmick to get us to buy more of the world’s most planted wine grape? If you are like Beautiful Wife and me, you appreciate any excuse to have a glass of wine.
This year we tasted through a flight of California Chards in a variety of style.
Our first wine is the newest edition to John and Lane Giguiere’s Dunnigan Hills portfolio, Clone No. 809. This grape clone is also referred to as the “musqué” clone, named for the French term meaning perfumed (‘musky’) or Muscat-like. Because its highly aromatic the winemaker chose to age it in stainless steel – completely unoaked – to let the natural fragrance and flavors shine through. This 100% Clone No. 809 Chardonnay lives up to its name, with a full nose of honeysuckle, orange blossom, peach and pear. It has vibrant flavors of tropical fruit and citrus. This is a pleasant summer sipper to pack in your picnic basket.
The next wine was a fun juxtaposition. The 2012 JUSTIN Vineyards Chardonnay was barrel fermented and aged in French oak giving it a classic California Chardonnay style. JUSTIN grows its Chardonnay grapes in California’s Central Coast, which gets hot days and cool evenings that bring out the ripeness in the grapes. This wine has enticing scents of apple blossoms, peaches, green apples and cloves. It tastes just like it smells with lemon, apples, peach and butterscotch with a crisp, clean and lemon thyme finish. This pup would be great with fried chicken or grilled trout.
Landmark Vineyards, nestled in Sonoma, is all about Chardonnay. The winery produces five Chard styles, with Overlook being its entry level. Landmark Vineyards is truly California’s Chardonnay, blending grapes from 21 vineyards. Fermented in French oak barrels the Overlook boasts a rich, classic California Chardonnay style ideal for the traditional Chardonnay lover. It has scents of honeysuckle, lemon and pear. Its full bodied with apple pie, nectarine and toast flavors. Pair this lovely lady with spicy Chicken Tortilla Ramen from East Side King.
Chateau Montelena 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay ($50)
We kicked it up a notch for the last bottle of the night. Chateau Montelena is famed for stunning the French by bringing home the white wine trophy from the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” tasting. Chateau Montelena’s Master Winemaker Bo Barrett continues to produce their Chardonnay with the same attention and practice they did over 40 years ago. Lemon, orange blossom and hone greet the nose. Its a big, round Chard with white peach, green apple flavors and hint of almond. This wine only gets better with age and would be a delightful Chardonnay to tuck away in your cellar if you didn’t already guzzle it down for National Chardonnay Day.
What did you drink for Chardonnay Day?