With what feels like an early summer I am reminded that it is at the very least the middle of spring and most certainly a good time to start breaking out some refreshing white wines. One of my very favorite varietals is the always intriguing Chardonnay which can so well show the deftness of its makers as well as the beauty of its terroir when produced with minimal intervention. I would like to take a moment to highlight a few of my favorites from around the globe:
Starting in Paso Robles with the ever fresh and lively Broadside whose 2012 displays the same clean classic expression we have come to expect from this producer vintage after vintage. This is Chardonnay with very little intervention in either the vineyards or the winery where wild yeasts straight from the vineyards turns the must into wine where it then rests in 90% stainless steel and 10% neutral French oak before being bottled at a modest 13.5 alcohol. At only $17.99 this represents a refreshing value.
If you’re looking for something a little closer to home and a bit on the fuller body style look no further than the luscious 2011 Maldonado los Olivos vineyard from Napa Valley at $39.99. From the producer, “Expressive and multi-dimensional with aromas of vibrant citrus, cardamom, banana, pineapple… and delicate floral notes…” This is definitely a big Chardonnay, so look to pair it with heartier fare such as chicken with cream sauce.
In this same vein there is a truly fantastic Chardonnay from Italy that I would highly recommend if one enjoys the fuller bodied style. The absolutely stunning 2011 Cervaro Castello della Sala from the Antinori estate. This stunning wine scored a well deserved 94 points from the Wine Advocate, “The 2011 Cervaro della Sala is an outstanding expression that will benefit from many more years of careful aging. The blend of Chardonnay and Grechetto opens to golden rays of luminous brilliance that glimmer through the glass. The bouquet is beautifully shaped by toasted almond, vanilla, clove, orange zest, stone fruit and honey. Mineral notes add dimension to what is otherwise a super-rich and balanced mouth feel. The 2011 vintage shows unique energy and intensity.” At $44.99 this wine represents what is in my mind one of the greatest price to quality ratios on the shelves. I personally have not tasted a better Chardonnay for less money or even quite a bit more in as long as I can recall.
If you are interested in a sharp and linear Chardonnay from abroad, look no further than the 2012 William Fevre Chablis coming in at $27.99. This village wine exemplifies all that is great about the Chablis region. It is un-oaked and unadorned leaving the imbiber very refreshed, perfect for 80 degree May days. Sorry to the folks reading from colder climes. According to the Wine Advocate 88 points and, “… suggests Sauvignon with its impression of lime and honeydew infused with sage and lime. Cooling and refreshing yet glossy, lush and expansive, it introduces stone, salt, iodine and lime zest for a finish.”
Whichever style you prefer there is a Chardonnay to match it. So come on by chill ‘em down, and embrace the early start of summer.
Bill A., Beltramo’s Assistant Manager