A French Connection for International Chardonnay Day

Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I receive a commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Today is a double whammy: May 25th is International Chardonnay Day, as well as National Wine Day for the USA. I must be insane or a glutton for punishment for posting twice today, but oh well. You have your wine reading cut out for you for a while! 🙂

For National Wine Day, I am saving a little bit of time by utilizing an expert on Virginia wine, Matt Fitzsimmons. I took this as an excuse to learn about wine in a different part of my country. Matt has his own blog over at Wine Trails and Wanderlust, and he is graciously letting me reblog his post on Virginia wines for this holiday. His excellent post covers all you need to know and then some about Virginia wine (don’t worry, it’s not too long, I made it sound like it might be lengthy). Do check it out! You will learn a lot and get bit by the wine travel bug (I know I did!).

So for International Chardonnay Day, then, I thought I would turn to La Belle France, birthplace of the esteemed Chardonnay grape. For Americans who are not experts or at least moderately familiar with them, European wines can often be mysterious and perplexing. But with a few recommendations to point you in the right direction, you can be well on your way to enjoying some truly lovely wines from Europe. I love my local and American wines, but branching out to other continents is great fun. Don’t let it scare you, and don’t be a vino xenophobe! 🙂

The French region of Burgundy is world-renowned for its Pinot Noir red wine and Chardonnay white wine. This particular Chardonnay I selected is from the Chablis appellation in Burgundy.

Domaine Chenevieres Chablis

The perfect place to begin exploring fine French Chardonnay… Chablis

2019 Domaine Chenevieres Chablis

  • Appellation d’Origine Controlee
  • Currently $27/bottle at Total Wine
  • 12.5% ABV
  • Medium body
  • Elegant, crisp and refreshing, good minerality (this is not a rich, buttery, oaky California or Australia Chardonnay with tropical fruit flavors)
  • Delicate balanced fruit profile – pear, apple, mandarin, apricot, floral – if white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris make you pucker with their tart citrus flavors, you might be more receptive to gentler, rounder Chardonnay

Here’s how and where this wine was made:

“Domaine Chenevieres is located in ‘La Chapelle Vaupelteigne,’ a hamlet located in the northern side of the Chablis appellation in Burgundy. 100% Chardonnay vines grown on a plateau with kimmeridgian limestone soils. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts in stainless-steel vats to preserve the minerality and purity of the fruit.”

According to Wine Enthusiast, limestone soils are naturally alkaline with high pH levels. Limestone is essentially calcified sediment from shells, coral, and other seabed debris. Because of this unique chemical composition, limestone soil is reputed to increase minerality and acidity in the grapes that grow in it, although many scientists claim the evidence is lacking. I say the proof is in the pudding, and if you try this Chardonnay you can’t miss the definite mineral character of the wine and the unique influence the soil sure seems to have on the grapes. Yet the debate rages on….

I really liked this Chardonnay, and would gladly buy it again, either when I’m in the mood for such a wine or looking for a really nice white wine to go with seafood. The price wasn’t so out of the park that you felt like you’d been socked in the gut. This is a great white wine to keep in your back pocket (so to speak) for bringing to dinner parties or any event where there will be white wine/Chardonnay drinkers.

Total Wine also sells several other Chablis from Domaine Chenevieres, from different vineyards and classifications. I believe the higher prices reflect higher quality or more prestigious vineyards. I was perfectly satisfied with the $27 introductory bottle, but you do you.

Salut to Chardonnay, and Vive La France! ❤

Happy International Chardonnay Day! Do you have a favorite? Comment below!

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Red Purists, Take Note: The Allure of Australian Chardonnay

Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I receive a commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

This Aussie Chardonnay May Make You Rethink Your Red Wine Only Allegiance

Most wine drinkers fall into the two main camps of red wine drinkers and white wine drinkers. While some are “all or nothing” red or white drinkers, I’d venture to say many of us prefer one camp over the other, but we don’t exclusively identify with just that one type of wine (ahem, politics, anyone?).

I myself prefer red wine over white. It’s usually much more interesting to me and also the health-promoting polyphenols are found in the reds, not the whites, so it’s for that reason also.

However, Chardonnay is a white wine that surprises me at each new encounter and causes me to question my red-wine-only preferences. It is such an intriguing grape, expressing itself in the glass in countless different ways. I’ve become fascinated with it lately, and my goal is to become better acquainted with it. #winegoals

Chardonnay is a noble white wine grape that is grown all over the world and does well in a variety of climates. It can be aged in oak barrels, which impart notes of vanilla, coconut, etc. or in stainless steel tanks, which do not impart any flavors and allow the wine to express itself in an unadulterated fashion. Some Chardonnays undergo malolactic fermentation, a process whereby malic acid is converted to lactic acid, and this results in the unctuous, buttery notes you sometimes get in a Chardonnay.

Penfolds Max's Chardonnay Adelaide HillsIn keeping with my little Aussie theme this week, I’ve got a wonderful Chardonnay for you (not Yellow Tail). 😉 This Australian Chardonnay I tried recently made me weep with ecstasy made me stand back and take note of how serious and attention-worthy some white wines can be! It’s from the Adelaide Hills region in South Australia. Penfolds notes that it is “A contemporary style Chardonnay, fresh and finely structured. This wine delivers pure fruit flavours balanced by bright, crisp natural acidity and complexity afforded from time in barrel.” According to Wine Folly: The Master Guide (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases), some Aussie winemakers are – get this – bridging the gap between the two style camps of oak-aged Chardonnay and stainless steel Chardonnay, and combining the two in their bottles of wine. A great idea I can get behind because the wine it yields is outstanding!

Here is the scoop on the Penfolds Max’s Chardonnay 2018:

  • $20.99
  • Pale straw color
  • Full body, 13% ABV
  • Modest acidity
  • Aromas/flavors: stone fruits, baked apple, lime, grapefruit, rose, white flowers, balanced by compelling minerality
  • Moderate finish, good warmth and acidity on the finish

So, whether you fancy white or red, look around for this Chardonnay when you want a wine that is beautiful, strong, elegant, and endlessly intriguing.

How about you? Do you have an Australian (or any) kind of Chardonnay you love? Do tell!

*Unfortunately this particular wine is out of stock at the moment on wine.com. 😦

But when I asked for some other similar recommendations, these were mentioned. 🙂

Please note I have not personally tried these yet, but they sound great and are in keeping with the style of the Penfolds Chardonnay. Until then, keep your eyes peeled for this wine or try the following!

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter: La Crema Chardonnay

Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I receive a commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Hey vino lovers! I hope I didn’t lose too many of you with my two-part pregnancy series, “What to Drink When You’re Expecting.” That’s my life right now so I like to go off on tangents every once and a while, but rest assured, we’re back to wine talk! I might not be able to drink right now, but there are MANY wines I have tried and that I’m ready to blog about and share with you! So, back to wine… what haven’t we done in a while? How about a chardonnay? Sure, let’s do it!

Most of us fall into either the red or the white camps. I would have to say I prefer reds over whites, but I know well enough not to refuse a really good white if it’s offered to me. There are some whites out there that are as rich, complex, flavorful and fascinating as any really good red.

Chardonnay is the heavyweight white, standing opposite equally hefty heavyweight Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnays are made from the Chardonnay grape (wouldn’t you feel dumb if you lost that one at trivia!) and range in style from crisp, clean, and minerally, to buttery, toasty, and tropical fruity. That last one makes it sound like a Trix cereal jingle, but trust me, I didn’t intend for it to be. 🙂

When sugary grapes ferment and are combined with yeast, you get wine. The fact that some of these grapes can produce a literally buttery flavor in the mouth is mind-boggling! (This buttery character, I have since learned in my wine education, is a result of malolactic fermentation). I can’t believe it’s not butter! (said in Kim Cattrall’s sultry voice). And who doesn’t love butter? Especially wine that tastes like butter… still unconvinced? Read on!

La Crema’s Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is usually in the $20 range (depending on where you buy it) and is one of the better Chardonnays I’ve tried that is readily available and easy to locate. It’s dry, but it’s a perfect balance between buttery and acidic on the palate. This California Chardonnay is “beautifully aromatic, citrus-laced, and layered.”

According to the winemaker’s notes, “This vintage opens with bright aromas of Meyer lemon and yellow apple, punctuated by hints of butterscotch and subtle floral notes. The palate adds flavors of juicy yellow plum, lemon curd and vanilla custard. Rich tropical tones and a lingering spice add richness and texture to the long, fresh finish.”

Hello!

When I first had this wine, I enjoyed it purely on its own. However, if you’d like to try pairing it with some different foods, the La Crema website has some delicious sounding recipes to go with this tasty Chardonnay, including crab risotto with fine herbs and chicken curry and sultana raisin sandwich. Yes, you are more than welcome to make these for me. 😉

If you’d like to explore a richer, heftier white wine this summer, or else you’ve never tried Chardonnay and would like a good one to start off with as well as one to stick with, the La Crema Chardonnay is your best bet.

Ode to An Old Soul: Vintage Tastes in Vino

Chardonnay, a true golden oldie.

Virgin Chardonnay from Naked Winery: Because Winemakers Just Wanna Have Fun!

*Naked Winery is now known as Evoke Winery.

Just because something is old doesn’t necessarily make it a classic. Beringer White Zinfandel, one of the top-selling wines in the US, might be an old, familiar favorite, but in my personal opinion it’s not a classic, just a convenient go-to wine (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases). While some styles of wine might not be trendy at the moment, it doesn’t mean they’re not good. Here at The Rambling Vine, I want to celebrate the grand flavors that have saturated my palate and broadened my perspective on a particular varietal. I also like to pay tribute to wines that sealed the deal for friends and family members.

My husband’s absolute favorite Chardonnay happens to be made in a style that is currently not as popular as it might have been a couple decades ago: oaked. This is not surprising. He is an old soul, preferring classic rock bands like Jethro Tull, Rush, and Queen to more contemporary music (when we were dating, I had to educate him on the true bands of our youth, like Soundgarden, Weezer, Spice Girls, wait, nevermind). But he knows a good thing when he experiences it, and when he first sipped this wine, I could tell this was the best Chardonnay he’d ever had!

Today’s Chardonnay drinkers generally favor the kind that has fermented in stainless steel casks, which give the wine a completely different, lighter character (some of which are good). So if you’re on the other end of the spectrum and prefer buttery, rich, hefty white wines, you’ll want to try this!

Naked Winery’s Library 2007 Virgin Chardonnay ($35 per bottle) is heavily oaked (it spends 17 months fermenting in new oak) and very tasty. The oak is rewarding to this wine. It is “a velvety and youthful wine” that possesses an “extremely tantalizing bouquet. Its soft tannins, creamy butterscotch and vanilla flavors will delight and excite you. It ends with a memorable sweetness. Enjoy strong flavors of pear, papaya and vanilla. Spicy Thai dishes will be just right with this wine.” Smooth, rich, thick, complex; a standout wine, it is not to be missed.

Another reason we really like this wine is the winery: Naked Winery. If you’re out and about gallivanting through Oregon, stop by Hood River and linger in the Naked Winery tasting room. Try everything they offer! But be warned, we tried close to 12 different wines, so don’t overdo it; use that spit bucket so you don’t do anything you would be ashamed of. This place makes awesome wines and they have FUN while doing it. Who else would paraphrase Madonna on the back of their bottle? “Enjoy this Virgin like it was the very first time.” The only thing they take absolutely seriously is their winemaking craft. After they create a great product, they are excited to share it with you and answer all your questions. Each wine name and description oozes sexual innuendo (they even have Orgasmic! Wine – to be reviewed later). They have been criticized for this by some in certain snooty wine circles, who obviously don’t have a sense of humor. Pshaw, let’s just support them all the more! Down with wine snobbery and puffery!

They also vehemently support the use of wine to aid in la romanza.

When the mood strikes and all the stars align to enjoy a particularly special bottle of wine, indulge in this exquisite, classic Chardonnay! Our life is made up of a series of delicious moments, might as well have a rich one.