Wine

Time to stop beating up on domestic chardonnay

Share:

Live your best food life.

Sign up to discover your next favorite restaurant, recipe, or cookbook in the largest community of knowledgeable food enthusiasts.
Sign Up For Free
Wine 26

Time to stop beating up on domestic chardonnay

kaysyrahsyrah | May 13, 2010 02:18 PM

Overheard at least 5x at the tasting tables of the Pebble Beach Food & Wine show: “I CAN’T STAND American chardonnays, because they are too…oaky, syrupy, monodimensional, unbalanced, (enter adjective here)…” Also heard at least 5x by servers of chardonnay (with insecure, apologetic tone): “Our wine is more BURGUNDIAN in style , unlike those other producers that make versions that are too oaky, syrupy, (enter adjective here)…”

Before spending a day inside the glitzy white tents (with Morimoto himself slinging jazzed up pork buns), I had thought the assualts/apologies for the “1990s style” of California chardonnay were long over. And that consumers are well aware of the amazing diversity and quality in domestic chardonnay styles available today.

But I was wrong.

So many people are stuck in chardonnay’s spotty American past. And to me, that’s sad. Domestic premium chardonnay ($15+ a bottle), as a whole, has never been better than it is now. And it’s not just California that’s producing the good stuff — Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, are doing quite well.

As proof, I’ve picked out a few wines ranging from $15-25, intended to counter the ‘classic complaints’ I’ve heard recently about what's wrong with American chardonnay:

* Over oaked? How about the no-oak 2008 Chehalem INOX Willamette Valley Chardonnay.
* Lacks balance? Try the 2007 Gainey Sta. Rita Hills.
* Like ‘em rich like Montrachet? Try the 2008 Alfaro, Lindsay Paige, Santa Cruz.
* Lacking acidity? Try the 2006 Au Bon Climat Bien Nacido Historic.
* Skip the butter? Try the 2007 Landmark Overlook Chardonnay.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound