In honor of Chardonnay Day

That and an exam has been postponed until early next week instead of Friday morning.  For a while now I have been wondering just how much my palate is accustomed to Washington Wines, despite the broadness of that statement, compared to other regions and styles.  My partner in wine and I began our comparison this evening with a selection of Chardonnay’s that we came up with on short notice.

Chardonnay comparison Napa Valley's Rombauer, Burgundy's Drouhin Vaudon and Columbia Valley Washington 2010 Buried Cane.
Chardonnay comparison Napa Valley’s Rombauer, Burgundy’s Drouhin Vaudon and Columbia Valley Washington 2010 Buried Cane.

They are different styles, but it is what we had to work with, so there it is.  My hubby has wanted to try the Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay, I wanted to have a Chablis and we recently had a bottle of Buried Cane at an Anthony’s Restaurant and added it as the token Washington to round out our panel.

Each of us comes to the wine table with lots of history and experiences that provide the foundation for our tastes.  It has taken a few years of coaxing to convince my hubby that white wines are good and worth keeping in the mix of wines we drink.  I on the other hand have a fixation on tasting the fruit, less oak and more grape tend to be my preference.  With that said, the rest of the blog will be predictable to those familiar with even two of the wines.

Tilapia and locally grown asparagus for dinner, simple but diverse flavors.
Tilapia and locally grown asparagus for dinner, simple but diverse flavors.

Our humble dinner, after a long hot day in the potato fields and vineyards, was Tilapia and asparagus from a local grower that I could eat every night while it is in season.  These two opposite foods provided a complex but minimal pairing challenge for tonight’s Chardonnay’s.

I am happy to say, we enjoyed them all, but in very different ways.  My anticipation of the Chablis and the knowledge that there wouldn’t be any oak made that the first Chard we tasted.  It is a light bodied, crisp, clean wine with a short mineral finish – elegant and perfect for a nearly 90 degree day.  The aromas of lychee and citrus peel led nicely into the palate of green apple and peach with a distinctive mineral finish.  The lightest of our wine choices at 12.5% ABV it was about perfect for my ability to handle alcohol too.

The Rombauer was next as it was also highly anticipated.  This was my hubby’s favorite from the first sip.  It has a medium body with vanilla and baking spices on the nose and a smooth mouthfeel with ripe peaches and vanilla on the palate.  The lingering finish was of warm toast and wood.  Despite it’s predictability each sip it was delightful.  I thought of it more as my Winter Chardonnay choice with a hot pasta and scallops dish or salmon cakes.  This wine is labeled at 14.4% ABV and I am still feeling it!

Left to right: Buried Cane 2010 Chardonnay, 2012 Rombauer Chardonnay, 2012 Drouhin Vaudon Chablis
Left to right: Buried Cane 2010 Chardonnay, 2012 Rombauer Chardonnay, 2012 Drouhin Vaudon Chablis

Our Washington Chardonnay from Buried Cane came in at 13.3% ABV with a light to medium body, lots of green apple and pineapple on the nose.  It had the heaviest mouthfeel of all the wines and an acidic, crisp finish after a bit of fish… there was no acid perceptible after a bit of asparagus – go figure!  We paired it with a crab-pasta dish and tempura when we were at Anthony’s last week, sitting outside on the patio with the Columbia River flowing by.  I discerned a strong cherimoya flavor on the palate as the wine warmed that night, we kept it cold this evening since the body was already noticeably fuller than the other wines.  It was the only screw top of the three and we agreed that we would enjoy this on a picnic or hike with finger foods.

It was fun to compare the styles and locations.  It peaks more questions and interest in more wine related subjects for me: the Chablis is biodynamically grown and coaxed into wine.  We have a local winery that is well-known as a biodynamic vineyard and cellar – or wine studio as it was called on our recent visit.  Naturally, wine is art, why wouldn’t it be a wine studio!  But that is for another night.

Happy Chardonnay Day!

2 thoughts on “In honor of Chardonnay Day

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