Culture / Foodie Events

A Sonoma County Find

Discovering a Worthy Version of America’s Most Popular White Wine

BY // 03.14.16

Chardonnay is big. It is the most widely planted white-wine grape in the world, and is the most popular white wine in America. It also expresses itself in a variety of ways. Some of you like the buttery, oaky approach, and others gravitate toward a zestier taste profile. I have a friend who drinks nothing but Far Niente, and he buys a lot of it. I prefer the latter group, and like a bracing, less oily Chardonnay.

A few days ago, I opened a bottle of Chardonnay that lies somewhere in between the two poles, and I enjoyed it. It was the 2014 from Jordan, which was released on March 1, and if you are a fan of the Sonoma County winery, look for this soon. (The people at the chateau offer that the 2014 Chardonnay can be cellared until 2021, and I am going to get another bottle and do just that.) You can order if for $32 directly from the winery, or look for it on restaurant menus around the state and on the shelf at your favorite wine merchant.

The 2014 had been in my Eurocave for several days when I opened the bottle, so it was about 54 degrees Fahrenheit. We opened poured a bit immediately, because I wanted to sample it at that temperature. (I tend to like my Chardonnays at 50F, so we put the bottle in the refrigerator while we took our first taste.)


Right away, I liked the crispness of this wine, which grew more pronounced at the lower drinking temperature. There is a somewhat creamy texture to this Russian River Valley Chardonnay, and some caramel, thanks to the five and a half months it spent aging in new French oak (malolactic fermentation was limited to 30 percent, however). Jordan’s winemaker fined and filtered this vintage before bottling, as well. We had a few escargot on hand — garlic and basil — and decided to pair the wine with them. It was a good decision.

The pear and apple notes were wonderful with the bright basil flavor and the earthiness of the garlic. The gripping acidity was refreshing as well, perfect for our light afternoon meal.

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Ryan Cooper of Camerata is a Riesling Man
Mixing It Up With Jeremy Parzen, an Ambassador of Italy
Sommelier at One of Houston’s Top Wine Bars Loves Underdogs

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