By Memorial Day the weather forecast predicts triple-digit temperatures. So that means it’s time to get white wine chilling. Conveniently, #ChardonnayDay always falls on the Thursday before Memorial Day as a reminder, in case the weather forecast doesn’t do so. Today we’re sipping a meal-worthy Chardonnay we received as a tasting sample.
Chalk Hill AVA lies in the northeast corner of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley AVA. Chalk Hill is a bit warmer though, with temperature-moderating breezes but not as much fog. The AVA gets its name from the chalky white ash that appears in the soil, but the soil is volcanic in origin not chalky. Hills and valleys in the AVA provide a variety of elevations and exposures that support a diverse list of grape varieties including: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Semillon, Syrah, Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir have also found a home here.
2017 Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay, Chalk Hill — pale yellow-green in the glass with aromas of lemon zest and stone fruit with hints of toast. The flavors follow the aromas with mixed stone fruits, citrus zest, toast and a bit of vanilla. The wine has a bit of weight and maintains bright acidity. Oak flavors linger on the palate along with the stone fruit. 14.9% abv. SRP $42
This wine is a bit round with nice acidity, good fruit flavors and integrated oak flavors. It is a style of Chardonnay that is a bit rich and therefore makes the perfect dining companion.
As with every wine, the key to understanding this Chardonnay is to look at how it was made. 100% Chardonnay is grown in estate vineyards. Native yeast was used for fermentation, which took place in French oak barrels. The wine went through 100% malolactic fermentation with bi-weekly stirring for 5 months, then monthly. Barrel aging lasted 11 months. 44% of the French oak was new.
Our choice of dining companion for this Chardonnay was something savory and rich: an onion, bacon and mushroom tart. I made a savory crust containing fresh thyme, rather than a sweet crust. Slowly sautéed Vidalia onions were layered with sautéed bacon and mushrooms. I dotted the tart with herbed goat cheese and a dusting of grated parmesan. The richness comes from the dough, rather than too much cheese and pairs beautifully with the savory flavors of the filling. I used this Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tart recipe as a guide. Perfect pairing.
We hope you have a delicious Chardonnay in your glass today for Chardonnay Day and thank Calhoun & Company Communications for connecting us with this delightful Chardy.