Chardonnay: Articles on the Chardonnay White Wine Grape Varietal

Wines to Go Buy This Week: Chardonnays by La Follette and Rivers Marie

Chardonnay GlassI hate chardonnay. Its reign as the #1 wine varietal among US consumers has always befuddled me given how many people -wine geeks and novices alike- deliberately avoid it. California chardonnay in particular - with its excess oak and buttery texture- was so off putting to me that I had virtually given up even trying chardonnay, so convinced I was that I hated it. Then I had an epiphany in the form of Greg La Follette, or I should say, his chardonnay. 

World renowned as an in-demand consulting winemaker, Greg La Follette recently took the plunge and launched his own eponymous label, focusing on pinot noir and chardonnay, his specialties. A long time fan of his pinot noir, I had the wonderful opportunity a few months back to attend a winemaker's dinner at a local restaurant where La Follette wines were poured liberally (and, trust me, I was not shy about partaking).

That night, for the first time, I found a chardonnay that was not just drinkable - my previous threshold for chardonnay "success"- but which I absolutely loved and craved. I joined La Follette's Vigneron Club that night ensuring a quarterly supply of my new discovery (and don't think for a second that my shipment doesn't include his pinot noir, as good as any available and an absolute bargain at the current price).

Hawke's Bay: New Zealand's Oldest Wine Region

Hawke's Bay, the oldest wine region in New Zealand, is known for its top-quality red wines and chardonnays.  In fact, 30 percent of all chardonnay grapes grown in New Zealand are planted in the Hawke's Bay wine region.

Best Napa Chardonnay (For the Money) asked a panel of wine experts for their recommendation for the best Napa Chardonnay (for the money):

California Chardonnay has entered a new golden era, and there are terrific, cooler climate examples available from all over the State. These great new Chards tend to be balanced, with minerality and strong acidity, as well as less obtrusive new oak than was the trademark of California Chardonnay even five years ago. Napa does not have a particularly cool climate, so the wines from this region tend to have more ripe, tropical fruit characteristics, and more richness, as well as more of a creamy mouth feel, thanks in large part to the new oak typically used for fermentation and aging. Nonetheless, for those who like the rich, tropical fruit style of Chardonnay, there are some great examples from Napa that are relative values. My top pick for the money is the Arnot-Roberts Watson Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay, with the current release going for a relatively reasonable average of $35. Here I get more lemon and lemon cream than super-ripe tropical fruit, but with solid weight and creamy texture. Also quite good but considerably pricier, at about $50, is the Hestan Vineyards Chardonnay, made by sought after Napa winemaking consultant Mark Herold. - Richard Jennings, Featured Contributor and the Founder


Dan Aykroyd Wines - IntoWineTV Episode 96

"Celebrity Wines." Host Lisa Kolenda and wine experts Bartholomew Broadbent, Cezar Kusik, and Rob Renteria taste and discuss the Dan Aykroyd Wines.

2007 No. 99 Unoaked Chardonnay, Wayne Gretzky Estates - IntoWineTV Episode 78

"Celebrity Wines". Host Lisa Kolenda and wine experts Bartholomew Broadbent, Loren Sonkin, and Edward Ruiz taste and discuss the 2007 No. 99 Unoaked Chardonnay, Wayne Gretzky Estates from the Niagara Peninsula, Canada.

Chablis: History & Recommendations for the Great Burgundy White Wine

About 110 miles southeast of Paris, at the northern tip of the Burgundy wine region France lays Chablis.  Chablis is the name of a village that has given its name to a region producing some of the best white wines in the world.  The region of Chablis encompasses 19 towns and is about twenty by fifteen kilometers in size.  In France, by law, wines are named after the place where they are fashioned and not the grape varietal.  The wine producers of Chablis have spent hundreds of years determining which grapes produce the best wines for their soils and the answer:  crisp, mineral-driven wines made from the Chardonnay grape. 

Pinot Noir in La Cote de Beaune: Burgundy’s Bouchard

The name Burgundy conjures up images of lush pinot noirs and chardonnays with expensive price tags, served to you with a French accent. It’s most wine lovers dream to visit the region and immerse yourself in pate, pinot and pastries.

Judgment of Paris: Film "Bottle Shock" Brings the Paris Tasting of 1976 to the Big Screen

Bottle Shock On May 24, 1976, Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant hoping to stoke sales at his French-wine-only shop, held a wine competition in Paris. In this competition French judges were invited to blind-taste top chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons from France and California. In an event that would later be dubbed the Judgment of Paris, the California wines –included merely to serve as the “sacrificial lambs” to the supposedly superior French wines- won the competition in a shocking upset. This singular event revolutionized the wine industry and put California on the map as a major world producer of fine wine.

This story comes to life on the silver screen for the first time with the film Bottle Shock, starring Bill Pullman, Alan Richman, and Dennis Farina among other notables. I recently chatted with Bottle Shock Co-Writer and Producer Jody Savin about the film.

Why this film now?

To answer this question in a socio-political sense, I would venture to say that we live in challenging times.

Santa Barbara County Wine: The State of the Grape 2008

In about 1820, a San Antonio winery was built in what is now Goleta, just north of the City of Santa Barbara.  The wine was made predominately for the missions as sacramental wine, but the padres undoubtedly made a little extra on the side.  The lonely adobe winery is still standing and nearly 200 years later, the wine industry in Santa Barbara County is thriving, in spite of the fluctuations of the economy, transitional markets, fickle consumers and inconsistent harvests.

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