Traveling with alcohol enthusiasts
©Marlene Rossman 2014
Contributing Editor –Chef Magazine
Put a Chardonnay in your Day
White wine enthusiasts love a chilled glass of big, buttery California Chardonnay, especially when the temperature rises. But let’s venture out of our comfort zone and try some Chards from other places. You will be amazed how the same grape tastes different when grown in other places and made into wine by different techniques. A number of wineries, including some in California, ferment their Chards in steel rather than oak, giving them a leaner, less voluptuous taste profile. Try Morgan Winery’s Metallico Chardonnay.
France is the original home of the Chardonnay grape, but you will rarely see the word ”Chardonnay” on the label of a French bottle. France’s most famous Chardonnays come from the Burgundy region, so any white wine that says Burgundy is a Chard! Joseph Drouhin produces marvelous white Burgundy. Chablis is the most northern part of Burgundy with its own special character. The wines are stony, austere and refreshing, and are called Chablis, not Chardonnay. If you are not too confused by this time, try a glass with a cold seafood salad. William Fèvre Chablis is one to look for.
The U.S of (chardonn)ay
California Chardonnay may be the most famous, but many other places in the United States produce delicious Chardonnay. Oregon, with its cool climate, produces Chards that are more in the restrained French style. In fact the climate is so similar to Burgundy that the Drouhin family produces Chardonnay both in France and Oregon! Washington State also makes cool climate Chardonnay, but it is riper than neighboring Oregon. Chateau Ste. Michelle produces a variety of Chardonnays in different styles that are all excellent. If you are looking for Chard on the East coasts, New York’s North Fork of Long Island has recently begun to turn out world class Chardonnay. Macari Vineyards produces two different styles of Chardonnay, both well worth sipping.
South of the equator
In South America, both Argentina and Chile are turning out some fine Chardonnay. Two to look for are Zuccardi SantaJulia Chardonnay from Argie and Concha y Toro Chard from Chile, and further south yet, Australia produces lovely Chardonnays in a variety of styles. Try Lindenman’s and Hardy’s offerings. South Africa, which exports over 400 million liters of wine, is another good source of Chardonnay. Over the past few years, a growing number of South African women, both black and white, have begun to produce Chardonnay (and other good wines). One South African Chard that is easy to find in the States is made by the Glen Carlou.
Surprising to some, Israel has been producing quality wines since the 1990s. Israel’s climate resembles California, and there are a large number of wineries, some of them “boutique,” that produce high quality Chardonnay. Domaine duCastel is one of the cult wineries, and Yarden Winery even makes an organic Chard. Since many Champagnes and sparklers are made from Chardonnay, finish your world tour by enjoying a glass of bubbly!