You could say one wine is like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz while another is like the mature Judy Garland, or that a big voluptuous Chardonnay is like Marilyn Monroe -round, bosomy – you can remember that Chardonnay. If you say a wine is snappy and lively, like Robin Williams, that's very different than the Anthony Hopkins of wine – urbane, sophisticated, measured, considered. —Karen MacNeil
Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you watch a lot of Cartoon Network and drink mid-price Chardonnay at 11 in the morning. — Conan O'Brien
Sonoma Valley Chardonnay
I wrote about it for almost a year, then I introduced it to folks slowly, timidly, just a month after it was bottled. First at a dinner gathering with neighbors. They were very complimentary—but then again, they were neighbors and couldn’t really say anything negative, right? Then they bought two cases of my wine. Hmm, maybe they really did like it.
Then I poured tasting samples of it at the Garagiste Festival. Lots of good comments, and I didn’t know any of those people. Okay, so at least it’s probably not plonk. Next, I took it to a Tuesday night Farmers Market on the plaza and shared it around liberally. People seemed to truly like it, even asked for refills. But sadly, I knew all those people and they all knew of my years-long winemaking journey and the compromised confidence that such an effort will foment.
Still, one of those folks that night was my winemaking guru friend Ken Wornick (I’ve written about him many times in this newsletter). He gave it an enthusiast thumbs up, much to my indescribable relief. He’s a hugely accomplished winemaker and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t lie to me about such matters. He doesn’t lie about his golf score, which is a credible measure of a man.
Finally, I was invited by my home winemaking club (with which I still participate, even as a “pro”) to pour it at one of the meetings where our featured speaker on wine and cheese pairings was Kelley Levin, Marketing Communications Manager for sister brands Marin French Cheese Co. and Laura Chenel. My Chardonnay would be paired with two different soft goat cheeses from Laura Chenel: original, and fig & grapefruit.
There was a ripple of excitement as the different wines and cheeses were passed around the fifteen or so club members attending the meeting, and my pairings went over very well. “Lip smackin’,” one member quipped. “Delish,” oozed another. I was very encouraged by not only the positive reception from my very opinionated fellow club members (tough customers!), but also the taste transformation that my Chardonnay went through as it was sampled with the salty original style of goat cheese, and then the fruity sweetness of the fig & grapefruit style. A barrage of oral wine notes (as only winemakers can compose) followed, punctuating the proceedings with, “lean and fresh,” “pear forward,” “a hint of lemon,” “lime zest on the mid-palate,” “a long finish with notes of grapefruit and caramel” “a bit of creaminess as the wine warms” “this is Chardonnay?!”
So please, buy some!
No wine is ever really “ready” to drink. It just becomes more and more ready, until it starts to become less ready. In between, it goes through a litany of changes that make it more ready for certain people than others, and for certain reasons more than others. It is that constant discovery of change in wine that makes it magical and worthy of our attention. So yes, my Chardonnay has definitely become “more ready” to drink!
That’s the first reason why I’ve decided to release my Chardonnay now, four months before the official release of my 2021 Vintage in October. It will continue to evolve for months, likely for years, and not to experience that evolution is cheating you out of truly appreciating the wine, and getting maximum bang for your buck.
The second reason is because, in my opinion, this is a wine best served chilled, letting it open up over time from the warmth of your hands on the glass. And summer is the best time for bright, fruit forward wines served cold, like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Viognier and Chablis-style Chardonnays like mine. This is NOT a big, warm, buttery, oaky California Chardonnay. In fact, quite the opposite with its fresh acidity, like Chablis, and fruitiness more reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s delicious and truly refreshing like a Rosé, only more “urbane and sophisticated,” like the Anthony Hopkins wine described in the quote at the top of the page. Yeah, sure. I tried it over ice cubes and it rocked. How’s that for sophisticated?!
The third reason I’m releasing it now is so you’ll actually get some—still at the same discount and with the free shipping I’ve been offering in our Advance Wine Sale. Folks have already been reserving it now for a while, and as the word continues to get around, we’re simply going to sell out. As of this writing there are only 29 cases left. I suggest getting a case, or a half-case, to get you through those long, hot, dog days of summer, and let you enjoy the pleasures this wine will certainly bestow as it ages over the next few months.
There’s also a three-bottle pack with free shipping, and even a single bottle option (Note: single bottle orders incur a flat $10 shipping rate).
Click here to place your order and I’ll get your wine shipped out to you post haste! I’ll even personally deliver it, if you like, if you live in the Sonoma area.
NOTE: If you’ve already placed an earlier advance order for just the Chardonnay in a case, half-case, or three bottle pack and would like it delivered now, let me know by replying to this newsletter. If your order was part of a mixed case, half-case or sample pack it will be delivered in October as previously arranged.
Okay, I have a rather lame confession to make. And I might as well brace myself for all the groans I’m going to hear from wine marketers out there. But, I don’t actually like Chardonnay. Let me rephrase that. I love the very first taste from a glass of Chardonnay, like I love the smell of tobacco just as it is lit, like I even kind of like the smell of skunk if I get just the faintest whiff. But I’d no sooner drink a second glass of traditional-style Chardonnay, than I’d smoke that cigarette, or go looking for that skunk.
The real problem is that my generation was introduced to Chardonnay fermented and aged completely in new oak barrels and then allowed to go through malolactic fermentation. I found the result—big, creamy, buttery, oaky Chardonnays—overwhelming, as that first delicious taste quickly devolved into something akin to eating a stick of butter. And I never got over it.
So why did I make a Chardonnay as my first commercial white wine? Two reasons:
Purely a business decision. More Chardonnay is sold around the world each year than any other style of white wine, by a factor of 5X. So, if you’re going to include a white wine in your lineup—which, for a start-up wine company, seems like a good idea—it’s kind of a no-brainer. Yeah, I know, but not very creative or reflective of my own style.
The challenge. I’m not alone in my distaste for traditional California-style Chardonnay. More and more people are joining the ABC Club — Anything but Chardonnay (it’s a real thing, check it out!). But hold on now. New World chard makers are toning down the oak and arresting malolactic fermentation to create a plethora of new styles that express terroir. I could get behind a “traditional Chardonnay” mutiny if I could just figure out how to make an alternative. Hmm. . .
So, there you have it. Please give my Chardonnay a taste and let me know what you think. Me? I truly love it. And for this dyed in the wool red wine drinker, that’s saying a lot.
By: Joseph Daniel
Title: Early Release of my Chardonnay!
Sourced From: tinyvineyards.substack.com/p/early-release-of-my-chardonnay
Published Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2023 14:01:09 GMT
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