Chardonnay. What do you think when you hear that word? Oak? Butter? Your aunt, the one who puts an ice cube in her wine? If those are your thought associations, I want you to go out and buy a few bottles of Chardonnay this week. As it is with human beings, there are thousands of different types of Chardonnays, and there is at least one out there for you.
I have been drinking the 2013 Home Ranch Chardonnay from Sbragia Family Vineyards, and I love it. I recently received a parcel of wines from a representative, one bottle of which was a 2013 Dark Horse Chardonnay. It’s also from California, made of grapes grown in the Lodi, Delta, and Clarksburg areas. Secondary malolactic fermentation, yes, and the result is pleasant.
I am averse to Chardonnays that are overly oaked, whose taste profile is dominated by butter. And though this Dark Horse possesses each of those in proportions greater than I normally desire, opening this bottle and sharing the contents with a few friends was an enjoyable experience. If you like apple and vanilla, try this wine (13.5 percent alcohol). There are some spice notes as well, cinnamon the first that comes to the palate. A touch of caramel is also evident.
For dinner, I had made a carrot soup, using an electric pressure cooker (a great process, and if you cook and have not tried it, take a look at this recipe). It’s a rich soup, and I served the Dark Horse with it. Unanimous satisfaction. Though the malolactic fermentation mutes the acidity in this wine, drinking it with the carrot soup seemed to return some of its brightness.
You can find Dark Horse Chardonnay at Trader Joe’s for $8.