“International Chardonnay Day traditionally falls on the Thursday before Memorial Day (May 25th, this year), but there’s nothing “traditional” about this stalwart summer staple when it comes to flavor: crisp and fruity unoaked versions are beginning to win over the pinot grigio crowd, while the familiar buttery-cream oaked ambrosia is still in high demand.”
What type of Chardonnay do you prefer? In the winter, I like the oaky Chardonnay, but in the summer, I prefer the unoaked type. If it is really hot, I actually like sauvignon blanc, but don’t tell Chardonnay I wrote that.
I was at one California winery in 2016, Dulzura Vineyard and Winery in San Diego County, that oaked their wine by putting a string of quarter sized oak chips in a barrel of wine. The oak influence was so light as to be nonexistent. Most other California wineries are known for the huge oakey Chardonnays. Rombauer is my favorite in the category.
Although Viognier is the official white grape of Virginia, a number of wineries do make excellent Chardonnay. Some of my favorites include Linden, White Hall, Barboursville, Pollack, Naked Mountain, and, Veritas to name a few. Probably the most unique Virginia Chardonnay I have tried is Cardinal Point’s Hopped Chardonnay. It works for a lot people and is certainly unique among any Chardonnay I have ever tried. Since I am not a beer drinker or a hops fan, it is about the only thing at a Cardinal Point wine tasting that I generally pass on. From the Cardinal Point website: 2017 Hopped Chardonnay
This unique wine made with estate grown Chardonnay and estate grown cascade hops has pleasing herbal and lemon grass notes, mostly from the hop influence. The mid-palate is fresh and light, with a long finish. We love this wine with fresh trout, pan fried or on the grill.