Thursday, September 3, 2009

In vino veritas, indeed

I issued myself a challenge some time ago, and have been hard at work ever since. Sipping is exhausting, I'm telling you. Welcome to Project: Chardonnay.

See, I've always hated chardonnay. It tasted buttery and gummy and oaky to me, and I didn't get the appeal at all. I'm a red wine girl anyway, but on a 100-degree day, if I were to reach for a glass of white, chardonnay would not be it. The more I heard about great chardonnays, though - legendary award-winners and universally loved bottles - I had to concede something. I didn't hate chardonnay per se... what I hated was cheap chardonnay.

Well, then!

A couple of months ago we attended a Tom Collichio-hosted dinner at Craft featuring courses paired with Ramey wines. The second course was a Thai snapper and shellfish ragout served with Ramey's 2005 Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay. The paring was spectacular, and the wine? Loved it!

There's just one problem with that particular bottle of chardonnay: T's obnoxious boss is so famous for drinking it that when he walks into the Ritz bar after work every day, they automatically bring him a glass. A $19 glass of chardonnay. That's right; me and the obnoxious boss, loving the same wine. Not happy with this development.

But two weeks ago over dinner at Fearing's, what did I order? A $19 glass of Ramey chardonnay, of course! (I actually justified it by realizing one big glass of great vino with dinner was cheaper than the standard two cocktails during dinner... see how easy that was?)

Over the weekend we stopped in to Veritas, where you can buy bottles for wine-store prices but drink them in a wine bar setting. We started to order a bottle of the Ramey chardonnay (we'd just eaten sushi and our palettes weren't ready for a deep red), when the fantastic wine steward there said two things: 1) fantastic choice, and 2) could he convince us try a lesser-known and slightly more expensive chardonnay instead?

He brought us Ridge Wine's 2007 chardonnay, and of course, I loved it. It was clean and smoky all at once, just beautiful.

Moral of this story? Watch out what you ask for. I might be developing a bank-breaking chardonnay habit. At least until the fall, when I'm back into my beloved reds.

7 comments:

  1. I also tend to say NAY to Chardonnay... we are generally Pinot Grigio orderers by nature (Evs does not love reds... something he's going to have to get over in 7 days when we arrive in Napa) - but I am excited about our reservation at Cakebread!

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  2. The Ridge really was terrific, and served at the perfect temp....definitely going back to Veritas after our experience there.

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  3. Not a Chardonnay fan either and it sounds like my budget won't let me become one anytime soon either. Which is fine because I tend to be perfectly happy with the Pinot Grigio.

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  4. Ooh I'm going to try that. Chardonnay is not my favorite either but it sounds like this could be a great one for late summer/early fall.

    P.S. I sent Eat, Drink, Marry to a friend today whose sister wants a Bahamas wedding but can't get the whole family down there. I was like "I'll show you an awesome beach wedding much closer to home!"

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  5. Yeah, Chardonnay is either really bad or really good! And the really bad ones are always from California. The really good ones? FRANCE!

    But, I think the U.S. is catching on to the fact that we're over the overly oakey, thick, sweet crap and going back to more old-world styles...thankfully :)

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  6. Ramey Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard $60.29/bottle at GoodyGoody. Best retail prices in town (unless you find it at Costco). They did not carry the Ridge Chardonnay. http://www.goodygoody.com/inventory.aspx

    Many times Chardonnays are served at too cold of a temperature, which can kill their bouquet, only allowing the strongest flavors to be tasted. It should be slightly chilled but not cold.

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  7. I hated Chardonnay until I went to Napa and tried Grgich Hills Chard. It completely changed my view on it... and it think it's about $40ish a bottle, so nice but not too unreasonable.

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