California Chardonnay & The Summer Grill

Hello Friends,

If you're a regular reader or follow me on Twitter, then you know that I've been drinking a lot of Chardonnay lately. Chardonnay is America's most popular wine and is the world’s most widely planted white wine grape. Chardonnay is extremely versatile and crafted in a broad range of styles from crisp and clean to round and lush with a buttery richness that’s heightened by extended oak aging. Chardonnay’s diversity makes it a perfect match for a wide range of foods and appealing to many a palate.

California Chardonnay and The Summer Grill

I recently had the pleasure of tasting even more Chardonnay as part of a “California Chardonnay and The Summer GrillTasteLive event. The event featured Chardonnay wines from three North Coast producers that could marry well with summertime grilling fare. Red wines are typically a popular choice for backyard BBQs, but make no mistake, Chardonnay wines can come out and play at the party too. Below are the wines, my tasting notes, and suggested pairings. All three wines offered something different and pleasing and if you spot any of them at your local wine shop, buy with confidence.

1) Gloria Ferrer Winery '08 Carneros Chardonnay – Asian pear, green apple, and streaks of citrus peel comingle with soft toasted hazelnut aromas. The palate boasts crisp flavors and pleasant, food-friendly acidity that’s heightened by a bright caramelized finish. I would look to light meats, for this wine, like grilled chicken, fish or pork as well as grilled veggies. You could even get the evening started with this light and refreshing selection and pair it with appetizers or serve as an aperitif. (ABV 12.5%, SRP $18)

2) Krutz Family Cellars '08 Sleepy Hollow Vineyards – Inviting tropical fruit aromas with a touch of coconut, sweet spice, and toasty oak tones. On the palate this wine is full and round, yet refreshing, with a dash of barrel spice on the lingering finish. Overall, this wine offered good flavor, is nicely balanced, and has good fruit and oak integration. For this wine, I would go with grilled pork chops, pork tenderloin, or veal chops – and if you have to add a sauce, make sure it compliments and doesn’t overwhelm the wine. Grilled fish with a touch of smoke would also work well. (ABV 14.4%, SRP $38)

3) Rodney Strong Vineyards '09 Estate Vineyards, Chalk Hill – Green apple, lemon curd, sweet oak, subtle smoke, and graham cracker fill the nose with a solid toasty oak framing. On the palate, this wine has a nice texture, a rounded middle, and moderate acidity, with barrel spice and baked apple pie on the medium length finish. This wine has more perceived oak influence than the others. Oak and smoke marries, so I would get some smoke chips going on the grill or use wood and look to smoked white meats and even think about a rich and creamy sauce to top it – especially if you’re doing fish. (ABV 14.4%, $20)

Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come!

CLICK HERE to visit Gloria Ferrer Winery website.

CLICK HERE to visit Krutz Family Cellar's website.

CLICK HERE to visit Rodney Strong Vineyard's website.

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