The Chardonnay Experiment

A couple of weeks ago I decided to do a class on Chardonnay to teach people that it has a very versatile flavor profile depending on how it is treated, and if you are a man, you don’t have to “turn in your man card” if you drink it.

So some of the “Twisted Peeps” and I gathered for class. This actually happened on 2 separate occasions and not every class had the same wines. But I’m condensing it to one so this post won’t be so long…

The 1st Chardonnay was a 2010 Domaine L. Chatelain from Chablis. The alc level is 13%. I do not believe it was aged in oak barrels. Chablis is a small area in the Northern part of Burgundy in France. It is a very light wine with citrus and mineral elements. I found it to be very delightful for Summer and a couple of people thought it would be a good all around wine to serve at a party with light cheeses and seafood. A few Peeps thought it was sort of steely, or almost metallic, and some thought it so boring it needed food.

The 2nd was a 2010 Four Vines, Santa Barbara County called Naked. It is done in stainless steel tanks. You can find it in most restaurants. It is fruit forward with pineapple, pear, and cantaloupe elements. The alc level is 13.9%, which gives it body to handle different foods. The class really liked it and some said it had a “bubbly” feel. Even though it was popular with a lot of folks, some said it sort of became harsh as it warmed up.

The 3rd was a gamble. I took a store employee’s suggestion when I told him I needed a buttery Chardonnay. So I tried a 2010 River Road from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma. The alc level is 13.7%. ¬†At first I really liked it even though it was not as buttery as I wanted. Some people liked it immediately and said it was fruity and spicy. As it warmed up, I thought it was becoming forgettable because it was losing the butter aspect. When I looked it up, it said it was done 40% in barrel and 60% in stainless..that’s maybe why it was only faintly buttery to me.

The 4th was a 2008 Ukiah Cellars from Mendocino County. The alc level is 13.8%. It was done in stainless using the Sur Lies method. Which is where the juice is in contact with the grape particles and yeast for a period of time. It gives the wine a creaminess and brings out a more bread flavor. To me this wine had apple and melon elements. Only a few folks liked it, and one person actually had a mild allergic reaction to it. Her sinus’ started to bother her. She really liked the wine, but it didn’t like her.

The final wine was a 2010 Rodney Strong Chardonnay from Chalk Hill, which is a small American Viticulture Area in Sonoma. The alc level is 14.5%. It was a favorite with a lot of people. It is very toasty vanilla, apple, pear and butter with a high alcohol level that could handle a ribeye. It was also done “Sur Lie” and aged in oak barrels, which made this wine robust.

I hope after I did my “experiment”…I didn’t confuse you Twisted Peeps too much. I just know that there are a lot of choices when it comes to styles of Chardonnay and people who belong to the “ABC Club” (Anything But Chardonnay) are missing out on some good wine. Remember…”life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death”.

Drink up y’all!