On Saturday, April 8 at 11am EST, the #winePW crowd (wine lovers and foodies who tweet about delicious pairings each month) will share on Twitter, their favorite go-to wines and recipes that make each sip more delectable. I invite you to join the lively conversation by using the hashtag #winePW. We’d love to discover which wine you have on hand most often…and why. See links to the group’s posts following this article.
To be honest, I found this topic difficult, since there isn’t a specific type of wine that I open on a regular basis. Instead, thanks to a cellar full of wine samples, I have a plethora of choices for tasting, whether it’s a white, red, rosé, or sparkling.
However, there is one variety that I always keep at-the-ready: Chardonnay. It seems that the majority of my friends and family members love this wine…only a few prefer something else. In the event of a visit, each is assured that a good bottle of Chardonnay is waiting to be opened and an enticing dish is ready for pairing.
Some of my Chardonnay loving pals prefer those that are creamy and oaked – they enjoy wines found in California, Argentina, Chile, Spain, parts of Burgundy, and Australia. Others prefer wines that show no oak, those that are light, fruit forward, and driven by minerality. To entice their palate, I find wines from Chablis, Maconnais, and Western Australia. Somewhere in between the two groups are winelovers that prefer a gentle touch of oak with each sip – the just-right compromise.
I, too, enjoy a pour of the world’s most planted white grape (I can’t let my friends sip alone, can I?!). The three selections reviewed below (sent to me as samples) are delicious, food friendly examples of Chardonnays that will please even the most discerning palate. Each expresses a specific style: oaked, moderately oaked, and unoaked. As a bonus, I’ve included links to flavorful recipes for pairing…in the event your thirsty Chardonnay aficionados are on their way to your house.
Marques Casa de Concha 2015 Chardonnay (sample -$22) – For affordable, high quality Chardonnay, consider this rich and luscious wine from Northern Chile’s Limari region. The dry, remote area, south of the Atacama Desert, has an average annual temperature of almost 60 degrees Fahrenheit; it’s surprisingly cool. Mineral rich soil that’s mostly limestone under alluvial clay and abundant sunshine help the Chardonnay grapes grow and thrive. And did they ever in 2015! On the nose of the Marques Casa de Concha 2015 Chardonnay, I discovered intense notes of juicy citrus, ripe pears, oak and hazelnut. Rich and full-bodied, high acidity helped balance succulent flavors of stone fruit, minerality, toast, and vanilla. Its lengthy, elegant finish was mesmerizing thanks to barrel fermentation and ageing in medium-toasted French Burgundian barrels sur lie for 11-12 month. Pair this oaked Chardonnay with a savory entrée, Hampton Roads Crab Imperial.
Hampton Roads Crab Imperial
- 1lb crabmeat
- 1 egg
- 2 eggs (hard-boiled and chopped)
- 2/3 cups green pepper (diced)
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- sprinkle of garlic salt
- small handful of bread crumbs
|Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.|
|Mix all ingredients lightly and spoon into individual shells or 1 quart casserole.|
|Sprinkly paprika and fine bread crumbs on top of each crab mixture.|
|Bake for 20 minutes. The recipe serves 3-4.|
If you prefer a lightly oaked Chardonnay, Moobuzz Chardonnay 2014 (sample – $17), from Monterey, California, is a delightful choice. Mostly Chardonnay with just a touch of Pinot Blanc, lively aromas of lime, lemon, spiced apple, and ripe citrus leapt from the glass. On the palate, bright acidity, notes of juicy melon, lemon, and a hint of honey, toast, and caramel led to a lingering, luscious finish. The Moobuzz Chardonnay was fermented in stainless steel to retain fresh fruit aromas, then aged in French oak for structure. Open a bottle and pair with Apple Fennel Chicken Salad for a memorable lunch or dinner on the back porch.
Apple-Fennel Chicken Salad
- 1/2 Pink Lady or Gala apple (finely chopped)
- 1/2 fennel bulb (finely chopped)
- 1/2 small shallot
- 8oz poached, roasted, or rotisserie chicken (torn into bite size pieces)
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon (finely chopped)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest (finely grated)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (plus more if needed)
- kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
|Using a fork, mix apple, fennel, shallot, chicken, mayonnaise, chives, tarragon, lemon zest, and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice in a medium bowl until well combined.|
|Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.|
This delicious wine from Dundee Hills in Oregon, Stoller Family Estates Chardonnay 2015 (sample – $25), is a lip smacking choice for any Chardonnay lover who craves a sleek, fruit forward wine that is absent of oak; stainless steel tanks were used. The 2015 vintage year began with warm and moderate spring that became dry and sunny as summer progressed. With cooler temperatures in the fall, berries had more time on the vine; the delectable result is in each vibrant bottle of Chardonnay. Upon my first whiff, aromas of yellow flowers, lemon, lime peel, and citrus were intense…I couldn’t wait for that first sip. Bracing acidity and refreshing notes of hyacinth, more lemon, and citrus on the palate led to a lively, joyful finish, one that will be a perfect complement to a crowd-pleasing appetizer: Mini Cheese Ball Bites.
Mini Cheese Ball Bites
- 8oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 3/4 cups blue cheese crumbles (about 3 ounces)
- 3/4 cups dried cranberries (finely chopped)
- 1 1/2 cup pecans
- pretzel sticks
|In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, blue cheese, and dried cranberries until smooth.|
|Dampen hands to prevent sticking and form cream cheese mixture into approximately 24 tablespoon sized balls.|
|Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm.|
|In the meantime, toast the pecans by spreading them out on a sheet pan and baking in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, for 7-10 minutes.|
|Allow pecans to cool and finely chop them.|
|Roll chilled cheese balls in chopped pecans, pressing nuts so they adhere. Keep cheese balls refrigerated until ready to serve.|
|Just before serving, skewer each cheese ball with a pretzel stick.|
Cheers! ~ Cindy
Enjoy the following go-to wines and recipes from my #winePW colleagues. Perhaps you’ll find some new favorites!
- 15 Years, 3 Kids, 5 Houses and 1 Wine that’s seen it all. by L’Occasion
- Azaleas, Rosé and Pizza: A Few of My Favorite Things by Pull That Cork
- Crispy Bacon Cheddar Burgers with Rivallana Rioja Crianza by Palatable Pastime
- My Go-To Wine for Curry by Cooking Chat Food
- Need a Go-To Wine? Go to Beaujolais! by The Swirling Dervish
- Old Vine Zin is an Old Fave by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Pan Seared Rosemary Garlic Strip Steaks with Bogle Petite Syrah by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Standards: Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel for an easy midweek meal by Wine Predator
- You Come Home, You Need Wine. What are you Grabbing To Make It Fine? by Lori’s Culinary Creations