Picking your Chardonnay
In an earlier post, we offered suggestions for food pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon, and we though that we would do the same for Chardonnay. First of all, it helps to understand that Chardonnay is the most diverse, and the most planted white wine grape in the world. Consequently, it is harvested in a wide variety of climates. Finding the best food pairing for Chardonnay depends upon where it is made, how it is aged, and its maturity when you drink it. Below we offer some generalized pairings to suit three different types.
Full bodied, oak aged Chardonnays
Generally, this Chardonnay is barrel fermented, barrel aged or special reserve Chardonnays that are 1-3 years of age. These wines are top quality, and the fruit is generally grown in Australia, New Zealand, and California. This wine pairs well with rich savory foods such as Meats and vegetables in white or béarnaise sauce, flavorful fish, and grilled veal chops with mushrooms. Favored vegetables include red peppers, corn, and winter squash. If you serve with cheese, we suggest cheddar.
Fruity, unoaked Chardonnays
This type of Chardonnays hails from slightly warmer areas, and are made in a more contemporary style. Rather than presenting as full bodied, they are smooth, sometimes buttery, with melon and peach flavors. The fruit is grown primarily in South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, and the south of France. This is generally and inexpensive wine that pairs well with simple salmon preparations, chicken, pork or pasta in a cream sauce.
Mature barrel fermented Chardonnays
This is a fan favorite that is the pride of the Napa Valley. The aging and fermenting process produces wines that are about 3-8 years old. The fermenting process also causes the chardonnay to acquire a creamy, sometimes nutty taste. This wine pair well with finer, more delicate dishes such as: grilled, seared or roast lobster, simply roasted chicken, and dishes that include tomatoes and wild mushrooms.
Ghost Horse Vineyard in St. Helena, Ca
If you are seeking a unique experience in Napa Valley, consider a visit to the Ghost Horse Vineyard, located in St. Helena, up against the Vaca Mountain Range, home of some of the finest grapes in the world. The vineyard was planted in 1997 and has been owned by Todd Anderson, Celebrity winemaker of Ghost Horse wines at Ghost Horse World. Ghost Horse World is one of Napa Valley’s leading estates, and has become infamous the world over for the price and scarcity of its wines.
The vineyard produces 4 separate and distinct Cabernets. Each of the wines are 100% Cabernet. Part of what makes them distinct one from the other is that their fruit comes from a different part of the vineyard and each are produced by its own unique wine making techniques. Ghost Horse Wines, located in Ghost Horse World. Todd Anderson is one of Napa’s oldest Winemakers. He and his family have been making wine since 1983. The wines are highly acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon, bearing an incredible intensity of sweet fruit and exceptional length. The wines are absolutely an Occult Wine Experience! Contact Amy Ash, their general manager, to schedule a private tour of the winery or for a dinner in your area.