Monday, October 11, 2010

Classic, Classy California Chardonnay

California Chardonnay has a bad reputation. Years of overproduced, overly-oaked wines left a sour taste in the mouths of many wine drinkers. But a few (or a thousand) bad winemaking choices shouldn't make you abandon a grape entirely. Recently, I've seen many winemakers going back to classy Chardonnays that are more restrained in style and more focused on the characteristics of the grape.

The 2008 Fess Parker Chardonnay is one of those wines--and I think it may be the finest under $20 California Chardonnay I've ever tasted. (suggested retail $18; available for $14-$20) This is a beautiful example of what Chardonnay grapes can achieve in Santa Barbara. The wine introduces itself with buttered apple aromas. Creamy apple and melon flavors are followed by a toasted coconut note in the aftertaste. Rich and smooth, this wine represents excellent QPR and may restore your faith in California Chardonnay.

Try this wine with a seasonally appropriate soup of apples and parsnips, some Tandoori chicken legs cooked on the grill or roasted in the oven, or crab cakes accented with an apple-and-cilantro salad. The apple notes are a terrific companion to the warm spices and fresh flavors of all these foods, and as each recipe uses curry powder the coconut and melon accents in this wine are really brought forward.

Full Disclosure: I received a sample of this wine for review.


Jennifurla said...

I am not a normal Chardonnay drinker, I might seek this one out though. Thanks for sharing.

bakingbarb said...

A friend introduced me to a wonderful Chardonnay which I couldn't afford but I've always hoped for a cheaper version. I'm going to try this one on your recommendation.