Tuesday, May 19, 2015

12 under 20: The Chardonnays!

Hello friends!

Admittedly, I have never been much of a Chardonnay fan. To be a bit crass, the idea of drinking wine that tastes like licking a buttered barrel never really compared to the idea of savoring fresh red berries or luscious tropical fruits. However, it occurred to me that I needed to be fairer to the Chardonnay lovers out there. There hasn’t been a single Chardonnay on my 12 under 20 list yet…until today.

I endeavored to compile not just one, but a few Chardonnays I have tried recently that I think are an excellent compromise for “Chardonnay people” and my personal tastes. It was really fun to learn throughout the process that not all Chardonnays are buttered toast in a glass and that ultimately, I had the wrong idea. 

 Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast, 2012 ($19.97 at Total Wine)

This wine is special because it was the wine shared the night some good friends of ours got engaged. Jess, the future bride, is all about Chardonnays and to be perfectly honest, I had her in mind when I felt compelled to do a Chardonnay post. 

This Chardonnay basically has it all: prominent fruits (apples, melons, pineapple), but also toasty oak and a spiciness, blended with soft butter. I had to admit, I really enjoyed this puppy a lot. We shared this wine again at our first time in their new house, pairing with pan-sautéed lemon cod, asparagus, rice with Cajun seasonings, and a mixed green salad.

  14 Hands Chardonnay, 2013 (Can’t find price?! – Assuming under $20)
We got this wine on a whim from someone that didn’t want it (crazy, I know…), so it was a good experimentation opportunity. 

I remember making my husband do a “smell test” to try and figure out what exactly we were smelling when we volatized the esters. Answer: Butterscotch. To me, this wine is all apples and butterscotch. The mouth flavors ended softly and truly favored bright apples with a toast foundation. It is easy to find, and if you like Washington wines this might be a good place to start.

     “446” Noble Vines Chardonnay, 2013 (approx. $11 at Publix)
Because I loved the Noble Vines Pinot Noir so much (check Instagram), I have made a point of trying every other Noble Vines wine I can get my hands on. Publix had a display of just their wines this week and I almost cleaned them out, haha!

The NV Merlot is amazing, their Red Blend is super fun, and their Chardonnay is another butterscotch beauty. The Chard is acidic almost to the point of being effervescent (but not in an invasive way). The taste is full of tart lemon and tangy grapefruit with a silky finish.

      “LIMITED” by Cambridge Cellars, 2013 ($10.99 on California Wine Club, $19.00 regular)
Myself and another woman I work with were recognized at our yearly team meeting for the work that we do. Knowing us well, our supervisors rewarded us with a 6-month wine of the month club (BEST. GIFT. EVER).  This particular club, The California Wine Club, focuses on wines at a great price from small family vineyards you won’t usually find just anywhere. I like the exclusivity of it and I have to say, shipment #1 was a hit!

When I opened up the "LIMITED" BY CAMBRIDGE CELLARS 2013 MONTEREY CHARDONNAY, I was quite pleased with what I tasted. I personally experienced apple cider from the nose and the taste was creamy, peachy, and very easy to sip. I was surprised that I didn’t get really any butter from this Chard – I am going to guess it is steel barrel aged. We paired it with a badia seasoned chicken breast, egg noddles, asparagus, and a lemon hummus butter sauce.

So, a few Chardonnays for you to try. I am going to keep my mind open moving forward in hopes of adding to this list, but for now I have found some Chards I am happy with. I hope you were able to find at least one Chardonnay here that could be an easy, “go-to” Chard for you too!