My plight as a chardonnay lover
It's considered unfashionable by many.
Oenophiles will lecture about superior choices.
Restaurant servers are often challenged to render a recommendation.
And, to acquire a really good one, it's almost necessary to spend north of $30!
But, California chardonnays are still my favorite. And while I was reminded today by the Wall Street Journal's "Tastings" column (authored by the wine expert team of Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher) of just how difficult it is to acquire a very good chardonnay for under $20, I won't give up.
After tasting over 50 2007 vintages, John and Dorothy could ONLY recommend five. That is it!!! They are: Chalone ($9.99 and described as "tightly wound fruit"), Newton Red Label ($18.99, "abundant oak"), Clos du Bois ($11.99, "light chardonnay fruit"); Heller Estate ($19.95, "toasty and bright") and Simi Winery ($14.59, "lemony and crisp").
It's the Newton that appeals to me. I'll look for it. I like oak. Other wines in the 20 buck range that I have found to be reliable and tasty are La Crema (around $15), Ferrari Carano (about $20), Landmark Overlook (around $20); Acacia ($18), Chateau Souverain ($15ish), Cuvaison ($18), and Merryvale Starmont ($16).
But the ABSOLUTE BEST in my mind...a true cut above others is Rombauer! I love the buttery softness and full body flavor. It is by far my favorite wine. Whole Foods often sells it for around $34/bottle. Flowers also makes a high end chardonnay that I like ($40). Mer Soleil is another big and buttery option ($35).
If you are in the "why bother with American chardonnays camp", you may appreciate the wine notes from a true pro. He is one of the people behind the fabulous, gourmet Chicago restaurant Graham Elliot.
John wrote this to me in response to my love of chardonnays. He first prefaced that he is NOT a big fan of the varietal! But he did acknowledge that Rombauer is a good one!
"When I drink white, I lean towards Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Gris, and Sancerre's. Also, white Bordeaux are fabulous. Yes, more famous for red, but try Smith Haut Lafite Blanc sometime. Really great stuff. Plus, a killer riesling is hard to beat. Not cheap sweet stuff, but the really good, dry germans. They taste a bit sweet when compared to a chardonnay, but it is not at all sweet. Very very dry and crisp, but just massively fruity. I recommend Donnhoff Spatlese. Auslese might be too sweet for your taste. They make several different Spatlese's, all good, some mind boggling. A really really great one can be a life changing experience. The fruit and acidity and crispness are so sharp that it feels like you have liquid electricity in your mouth. If that makes any sense."
Yes, John, perfect sense thank you.
And just remember studies prove that MODERATE consumption of wine is good for your health too! Click this link to read more.