The Skinny on Chardonnay

It’s starting to feel warm again and I am debating putting sunglasses on when I drive, so that means it’s white wine time again!

When I think of Chardonnay I think of a middle-aged blonde female who gets day drunk during the week while wearing high heels, white pants and some type of fur — into it.

That’s completely irrelevant to what I’m about to tell you about chardonnay.

This bae was born in the Burgundy region of France, where it’s known as White Burgundy — opposite of Pinot Noir!

It’s known as an elegant white wine and is best served cold. This wine is super versatile and goes great on patios in the summer or pairs well with hearty soups in the winter.

Chardonnay grapes are easy to grow, and are very different depending on the region and climate (aka terroir). That’s why you could have one Chardonnay that’s super dry and made from less-ripe grapes that tastes like green apple or lemons and hate it, or you could have one that’s made from very ripe grapes and tastes like guava, mango or pineapples.

They other huge difference is whether the Chardonnay is oaked or unoaked.

  • Oaked Chardonnay has a buttery flavour and are pretty rich.
  • Unoaked Chardonnay is similar to a pinot gris or sav blanc and tend to be more crisp and tart.

Safe foods to pair with Chardonnay:

  • Soft cheeses
  • Fish with herbs
  • Chicken, Turkey
  • Shrimp, Lobster, Crabs, Scallops, Oysters, Clams
  • Mushrooms, truffles
  • Almonds
  • Yellow squash, lemons, peas, asparagus

Wines that aren’t Chardonnay, but are pretty close to Chardonnay:

Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Semillon, Fiano (Italy), Antão Vaz (Portugal)

Fun Fact: Chardonnay is the wine used to make sparkling wines.

This clearly isn’t everything to know about Chardonnay, but it’s a good starting point. The links below go into more detail about the grape if you are interested.

http://vinepair.com/wine-101/chardonnay-white-wine-guide/

http://winefolly.com/review/chardonnay-wine-guide/

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Wine scores are bologna

How we each perceive wine is going to be different. I have written over 40 blog posts on various topics about wine, and I still feel like I have no idea what I’m talking about. There is so much to know and so many wines, it easily becomes overwhelming.

For a long time I loved Apothic Red. It was my favourite wine and I didn’t even consider buying anything else. Then one day, I hated it. It was too sweet and way too rich and just thinking of it now makes me feel gross.

The great thing about wine is that it is subjective. I can hate it and you can love it, and that’s totally fine. It doesn’t mean the wine is good or bad; it just means we have different tastes.

For example, I think DORITOS are the greatest chip to ever leave a bag and enter my mouth. Something about that dusty cheese really gets me going. I have a friend who, shockingly, who thinks Arribas are amazing. I honestly can’t understand why someone would willingly choose those spiced wannabe chips, but hey.

It’s like people who love Jeanne’s cake — like, seriously? They ACTUALLY taste like cardboard with icing on them. People love them. I don’t get it.

And M&M’s are clearly the superior candy to SMARTIES.

I realize these are all subjective opinions, but I believe in my heart, soul, and mouth that I am correct and there is no other way. The good thing is that nobody cares what I think of these flavours, and my partner has the same tastes as me, so it works out well.

Some critics use points to score wine, which makes wine objective. But I say that’s bologna! It’s what you like. Why is their opinion “better” than mine? Just because you give a wine a high score doesn’t mean I’m going to like it. Points are meaningless. Even the Journal of Wine Economics referenced two papers stating that wine ratings were a “powerful illusion.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703683804574533840282653628

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grab some Sriracha and a bottle of Riesling

Reigning from Germany, Riesling is one of the six noble grapes.

For some reason, it usually comes in a tall, skinny bottle. Riesling has a reputation of being crisp and florally, as well as sweet, but many Rieslings are dry.

Fun Fact: Rieslings are the most aromatic wine in the world.

This tall blonde pairs well on its own or with any food. However, Riesling and spicy foods are a killer combo. Indian and Thai food plus a bottle of Riesling equals heaven for your taste buds.

This girl is best served cold.

One of my favourite things about Riesling is that the labels make it so easy to know what you are going to get. One of these four descriptions will appear on every bottle of Riesling. It’s in German, but I can tell you what to look for.

Trocken – always dry, crisp, high acidity, with hints of minerals

Kabinett – Light wine, fruity, high acidity

Spatlese – Late harvest wines with honeycomb flavours, tropically fruit and high acidity

Auslese – Full-ripened wines, sweet fruits and honey, high acidity

Wines that aren’t Riesling, but are pretty frikkin close to Rielsing:

Muscat, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Loureiro (Portugal), Torrontes (Argentina), Malvasia Bianca (Italy)

Wine in a can. How bow da?

It’s actually not terrible!

My friend, Nate, brought me a can of wine to a curling bonspiel a few weekends ago. I wasn’t playing, obviously. I was there for support.

Actually, I was kinda bored because I know nothing about curling, so when Nate handed me this beverage I was excited and skeptical.

BIG HOUSE WINE actually already has bottles and boxes of wine, so now they have moved into the canned world.

It’s $4 for a can that equals two “standard” glasses of wine.

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I love it because it’s portable, great for the cabin, poolside, hikes, picnics, and camping. I don’t like beer that much, but I’m always envious about how easy it is to pack a few in a backpack and be on your way. Wine bottles you need an opener, a glass, and then you need to carry this glass bottle around. Urgh, what a hassle.

I know, my life is so tough having to pack wine when I go on hikes at my cabin. #firstworldproblems

I’m not actually complaining. I’m just happy that my convenience level just became easier.

But seriously, this zin was smooth to drink. It had a dark fruit taste, like black cherries and plums. It was nice!

Next time you are heading out to the cabin and you need a convenient wine, grab a few of these bad boys.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/big-house-cardinal-zin-zinfandel-can/444760

A “tip” from a server to you

If your server doesn’t know much about wine, when you ask him or her what their favourite wine is, it’s always the most expensive one on the list. I used that trick a lot as a server before I started to educate myself in the world of wine, and it paid off. People generally tip a percentage of the total bill. If your bill is higher, then the tip will often be more. There are also incentives sometimes for servers to have the highest guest cheque average or sell a specified menu item.

Even having slight wine knowledge can save you a pretty penny and gives you a way better chance of enjoying the wine brought to your table.

Recently, I found two wines at local restaurants that I LOVE. The first was at Bouchee Boucher — half restaurant and half butcher shop. We wanted to try everything on the menu and share, so we didn’t really try and pair wine with any particular meal.

The scalloped potatoes with a pile of shaved ham; wild rice casserole with duck confit, mushrooms, and whipped blue cheese; crispy pork belly, and the butcher’s steak were all amazing, but the Buried Hope Cabernet Sauvignon was incredible. I went to The Winehouse the next day to pick up a bottle. Apparently, they have a very nice pinot noir as well. The phrase on the front of the wine is “stressed vines deliver rich wines,” and that made me laugh. Hopefully stressed students deliver high-quality content and employable skills.

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This full-bodied red has a slight vanilla, blackberry, and oaky flavour, and it has a soft taste to it. It is also available at the LCBO.

The next wine was a Merlot, and since I took a picture of it, like I generally do with bottles of wine I enjoy, I thought I would remember the name. This particular bottle is a fully white label that just says, “merlot” in the bottom right corner. Several Google searches did not help me out…

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Thank goodness another friend of mine took a picture of the back since the wine is simply called, “merlot.” It is merlot from Lock and Worth Winery in BC. It is for sure available at The Winehouse if you want to check it out.

For the record, neither of these were the most expensive on the menu. I’m pretty sure the Merlot was actually the least expensive.

Cheers!