3 Wines to Celebrate National Chardonnay Day

I have to be honest with you. Chardonnay is not my favorite varietal. I’m quite partial to reds and when I do drink whites, I tend to look for less common wines made from grapes like Vermintino, Gattinara, or Verdichio. I’ll never turn down a bottle of aged Riesling from Alsace or Germany. And I will joyfully gulp down glass after glass of Assyrtiko. But Chardonnay? Well…

Most likely I just had too many bad experiences with Chardonnay early on in my wine-drinking career. It’s really easy to do. Chardonnay is made in so many styles that it can be hard to find one that tastes just right to you. But as I say in the tasting room, if you’ve tried 22 Chardonnays and have yet to find one you like, try drink number 23. It’s really only a matter of time before you find one you love.

So, in honor of National Chardonnay Day, here are 3 easy-drinking wines I love. Happy National Chardonnay Day! Leave a comment or email me to let me know some of your favorites.

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Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay AOC

While France is not exactly the birthplace of winemaking, it is from the French that we learned much of what we do know about wine thus my first recommendation is a Chardonnay from the Mâconnais region of Burgundy, the home of some of the world’s greatest examples of Chardonnay. Wines from this region may have a rounder mouthfeel compared to its friends up north in Chablis, but they will present the classic Chardonnay aromas and flavors of white flowers, apple and citrus, and the zip of minerality that I love in French whites.

 
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Mount Eden Vineyards 

The vineyards of Mount Eden sit on a mountain top of the Santa Cruz mountains, about 15 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. It’s the combination of the high elevation and the cooling ocean breezes that allow these grapes to ripen while also maintaining bright acidity. The use of new French oak adds hints of baking spices and stirring of the lees adds an element of creaminess, yet acidity still manages to cut through.

 

Wente Vineyards Eric’s Chardonnay

Yes, it’s true that I work here but I’m not being paid to mention this wine in this space (I save that for the tasting room). Wente Vineyards (the first family of Chardonnay!) makes 4 different still Chardonnays and this one happens to be my favorite. It hails from Livermore Valley, a place that most people think of as too hot to grow good grapes. However, what makes Livermore Valley different from many other Californian apellations is its east-west orientation that allows the cool breezes from the San Fransciso Bay to pull through the valley, dropping the nightly temperatures—sometimes by as much as 40 degrees. Eric’s Chardonnay is 100% stainless steel fermented which keeps the wine bright and fresh with flavors of crisp apple and pear, and a citrusy acidity.

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Bonus: Wente Vineyards Brut

Yeah, yeah. Another Wente wine but I’m putting it here because

  1. Who doesn’t like bubbles?

  2. It’s made from 100% Chardonnay so it counts.

  3. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

The Chardonnay grapes for this wine are grown down in the Arroyo Seco appellation in Monterey, California. This cooler Californian region is known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, thus making it the perfect place to source bright, fresh fruit for sparkling wine. Made in the traditional champagne method, this sparkling wine has aromas and flavors of crisp green apple and that brioche goodness that Champagne lovers adore.