Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday Wines (under $10)

Summer is a great time for reviewing Chardonnay.  I used to think I hated Chardonnay.  Then I read "Drink This: Wine Made Simple." by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl.  She made a great case for this grape helping me realize in her words, "You just haven't met the right one." Now, I love Chardonnay for all of its beauty and adaptability.  I came to appreciate Chardonnay because it can be made in a variety of ways. But, I came to love love Chardonnay when I started to discover California Chardonnays and all their intricacies.

Unlike French Chardonnays, which tend to be more mineral and tart apple forward, many of the North American Chardonnays have been traditionally oaky and buttery, which happens to be my preference.  For decades when you bought a good Chardonnay from Sonoma or Columbia Valley (the Burgundy regions of North America) you knew what you were getting--butter, oak, and a full body.  However, as Australian and Chilean wines gained popularity these traditional North American treats went to the wayside, and the fruity and bright Chardonnays became the new vogue.

However, wine and food trends like all fashion fads change with the tide.  What is popular soon becomes passe, and what was previously in-style becomes retro-chic.  And, so it is with Chardonnay.  Many of the more expensive California and Washington wineries, especially ones that specialized in Chardonnay, are once again returning to their creamy and buttery goodness that first brought them fame.  There are a few wineries who made a name for themselves by keeping the tradition strong regardless of the trends in wine fashion.

Snoqualmie Vineyards is one of these wineries.  They came on to the US winemaking scene in 1983, and this Chardonnay keeps their tradition alive. "The style of this Chardonnay showcases pure varietal expression of Washington State fruit" (Joy Anderson, winemaker).  By blending 5% Viogner, Anderson brings forward some tropical flavor without losing the integrity of the Chardonnay and its classic cream and oak characteristics.

Tasting Notes:
Color- Pale yellow
Nose- lemon, pineapple, clove, vanilla, lime and cedar.
Taste- pineapple, cream, butter, vanilla, with a spicy and sweet oak finish.

This wine pairs perfectly with seafood and grilled fish.  At $8-$10 a bottle this is the best bargain wine to impress friends at a summer barbecue or take with you on a warm picnic in the park.

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