This is part of an ongoing series called Become A Better Taster! Each post will illustrate the essential aromas and tasting notes associated with a specific grape varietal. Use this post as a baseline when tasting your next Chardonnay!
What do you smell and taste when you're swirling a Chardonnay in your glass? Not sure?
Below is a handy visual guide to the classic aromas and tasting notes you might find in any Chardonnay. There will be differences and nuances in texture and flavor depending on the origin of the wine, how it was grown, fermented, and stored (more on that below). But here are the basics, to help you find your footing when exploring a new-to-you Chardonnay. Clink, clink!
SOME NUANCES YOU MIGHT TASTE
• Chardonnay grapes grown in cool climates will skew toward cold cut pear, green apple, and raw almond notes.
• Warmer climates will produce notes of baked yellow apple and tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, and guava.
• Different soils will also affect the flavor...
Photo: via The Real Review
G.D. Vajra is a family-run wine grower nestled in Vergne, the highest village in the Barolo region of Piedmont, Italy. The Vajra family tends 40 hectares of high-elevation vineyards, where breezy conditions produce complex and beautifully aromatic wines that are still distinctly Piedmontese in nature.
Aldo Vajra knew winemaking was for him from a very young age. In 1968, Aldo took over his grandfather's estate, putting his dreams of grapes and vines into action and bottling his first vintage in 1978. Since then, he has secured his place in the ranks of top tier Barolo winemakers, earned the region's first organic certification, and raised a humble and wine-loving family with his wife Milena.
The Vajra family believes in simply guiding (rather than forcing) the grapes into their full and truest expression in the wine bottle, and their respect for the land and sustainable farming practices are crucial features of this philosphy. Aldo personally derives great joy from dreaming up a...
Photo: via Melville
*This post is part of our Grower of the Month series, in which we spotlight a winery (or two) that we love!*
This month's Grower of the Month is a double feature! Enjoy this peek into two California wineries that embody the spirit of minimalist winemaking.
California's LIOCO winery is run by husband-and-wife duo Matt and Sara Licklider (pictured above), but it began as a dream between two wine professionals. In the early 2000s, Matt and wine director Kevin O'Connor set out to craft wines that favored nuance and sense of place over the more forceful and exaggerated winemaking techniques dominating the market at the time.
Their small operation is now run by Matt, his wife, Sara, and a teeny tiny team of winemakers and tasting room staff. Together, they purchase fruit grown primarily from Santa Cruz, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties and then simply "get out of the way." That's it! The LIOCO mission is to let exceptional fruit take the lead, with just a little nudge here and there...
Photo: Nika Benedictova via Unsplash
Do you ever miss trick-or-treating? I do! What other excuse do I have to house a bowl of fun-size Snickers?
Luckily, adulthood allows for some other delicious things. Like wine! And homemade snacks that give Snickers a run for its money. Throw your own adult-friendly Halloween party this Fall with these festive food and wine pairing ideas.
CHOCOLATE, PEANUT BUTTER
DRINK: El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximenez Sherry
This spiced sherry is light on its feet and a perfect foil for nutty and milk chocolatey treats.
APPLE, PUMPKIN, BUTTER, CINNAMON
DRINK: Jim Barry 'Wintervale' Riesling
This Riesling is both rich in honeycomb flavor and lifted with citrus and florals that compliment all things pumpkin spice and baked apple.
DARK CHOCOLATE, RED VINES
DRINK: Rob Murray Vnyds 'Force of Nature' Zinfandel
Dark red and black fruit make this Zinfandel a friend to dark chocolate treats and classic licorice.
MARSHMALLOW, NOUGAT, SALTED CARAMEL
DRINK: Elderton 'E Series' Chardonnay
A creamy, peachy Chardonnay...
Photo: Dimitri Jablokov via Unsplash
Happy Fall, y'all! Please enjoy some of our favorite internet finds this week, plus wine pairings to drink with them.
FRIDAY FAVES - 9.23.22
- Okay, this Spaghetti Squash Mac and Cheese is absolutely going on my to-make list. It's going to ROCK alongside a creamy but bright and minerally Chardonnay (see below).
> DRINK THIS: De Wetshof Estate 'Bon Vallon' Chardonnay
- Temps are dropping, friends! Get cozy with our somm-selected wines for Fall.
- Fred Franzia has passed away at age 79. Wine Enthusiast does a deep dive on the man's impact on bargain wines.
> DRINK THIS: Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir
- Need a great book recommendation for the winter months ahead? I love this Cup of Jo post calling for readers' top three books!
> DRINK THIS: Paolo Scavino Nebbiolo
- A great little guide for how to change your skincare routine for Fall and Winter.
> DRINK THIS: J. Bouchon 'Paîs Viejo'
- We've got our eyes on Minnesota's Fall Colors Finder! Where are you planning on peeping the leaves...