Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Just A Snack. Just A Chardonnay.

Wine goes with food.  Food goes with wine.  I know food came first, but was food really worth the chewing without wine with which to pair it?   What is a great wine without something great to eat with it?  Is a gorgeous steak anything more than just a piece of meat if not brought to life by its proper wine mate?  A fantastic food and wine pairing is simply a beautiful thing, but which is the more important aspect?

Such tiresome questions for this day.  Someone to cook, someone to pour, someone to wash the dishes.  Someone to help enjoy it all.

Happy holidays to you and yours, from the house of Now And Zin.  Thank you for taking the time to read these words through the years.  We appreciate that you are there.

Cornerstone Cellars Oregon Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2012

This Chardonnay comes from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.  The grapes - Chardonnay clones 76 and 95 - are from the Carabella Vineyard on Chehalem Mountain and the Gran Moraine and Willakia Vineyards in Yamhill Carlton.  It was aged for 15 months in French Oak barrels, 28% of which were new.  It is completely barrel fermented with full malolactic fermentation employed during that process.  Alcohol rests at a reasonable 13.5% abv, 300 cases were made and it retails for $40.

Very nice, this Chardonnay.  The oak - as pronounced as it is - is played perfectly, not overdone.

A light golden tint leads to a nose of lemon zest and minerals. The palate shows great flavor, with citrus and rocks prominent.  The oak softens the mouthfeel but remains just a supporting player despite the length of oak aging.  The wine drinks clean, with a very nice acidity.  It won't rip your face off, but it will pair well with your caprese salad, leaving your features intact, but your cravings satisfied.

Cornerstone's Craig Camp believes in Oregon as a great place - maybe the best in America - for Chardonnay, and he tells me that "the 2012 chardonnay fruit was the most beautiful and defect free I've ever seen in Oregon."

This wine tasted extremely good with roasted vegetables - specifically, my wife’s roasted Brussells sprouts with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  They were augmented by her roasted celery with sesame oil, sea salt and paprika.  “Just a snack,” she said.  It was much more than that despite its simplicity, and the wine really completed it.  The oak aging married with the oil, while the citrus elements of the food and the wine blended smoothly.

This was one of those instances in which it was hard to tell if the food made the wine or the wine made the food.  I suspect it was a little bit of both.  I know neither would have tasted so good without Denise.


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