Champagne's best delight comes in oysters, fried chicken, and triple cream cheese.
'Chardonnay' on Serious Eats
While the convenience of buying my vino with my Honey Nut Cheerios would certainly be welcome, the same question arises when facing aisles of wine, no matter the setting: What should I buy? What are the best options in this super-convenient scenario? And are the prices competitive with better wine shops?
We tried a few popular and widely-available Columbia Valley-sourced bottles from Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest Grand Estates (both part of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates collective). You can usually find Columbia Crest for around $10, whereas the Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley wines are closer to $14. But are the extra few dollars worth it?
I've seen every season of the Bachelor, from the first limo filled with squealing girls to the last sponsored diamond ring. But this year, I'm watching the show for all the right reasons. Because I think I could see myself falling for Ben. We're, you know, on a journey, and I know the process works, and I'm not here to make friends. So what's-her-butt can just back off. Why am I so sure of this connection, when we've only known each other, well, a minute or two less than he's known the other 16 girls he's dating? Because Ben The Bachelor is a winemaker.
We weren't wild Costco's house brand Champagne, but we were curious about the less expensive options in the Kirkland wine line, so we picked up the Kirkland Signature Napa Cabernet, which sells for $12.89, and their $8.99 Sonoma Chardonnay. Did these cheaper bottles fare better than the Champagne?
Seriously chalky soil is part of what makes the Cote des Blancs region in Champagne famous for its chardonnay. We recently tasted two blanc de blancs (all-chardonnay) Champagnes from this region: one from Perrot-Batteux et Filles, and the other from Pierre Gimmonet. These wines launch our explorations of grower Champagnes: wines made by small producers—the families who grow the grapes. Think of it like microbrewed beer, except the independent microbrewer also happens to be a hop grower and malt-producer. Well, maybe it's not a perfect metaphor...
This new line of sparkling wine from Jean-Charles Boisset is sold by number: No. 69 is a brut rosé, made from pinot noir grapes from Burgundy, while No. 21 is a brut blend of chardonnay and pinot noir. The rosé is berry-flavored and cheerful, but we were much more impressed with the brut.
Last week, we introduced you to the Serious Eats Amateur Wine Taste-Along, and let you know that we'd be picking five Chardonnays to taste—ours spanned France (we had a Chablis), California, and Chile. What did we like? What did you like? Come chat Chardonnay!
Welcome to the Serious Eats Amateur Wine Taste-along, where every couple of weeks, myself or one of the other wi-curious editors (that'd be Erin and Carey) will do all the hard work for you, researching a couple of grape varietals or growing regions, planning tastings that make sense, and offering a few tips on how to run your own tastings at home. We'd like you guys to taste wines right along with us and each week, chime in with your own comments and information on the wines you've tasted.
Chardonnay sometimes gets a bad rap, but it's a lovely choice for the Thanksgiving table—as long as you choose the right one. A mouthful of oak is not the perfect accompaniment to dark meat or light meat. But the bottles I have for you today are light on their feet, and will be pleasing both to Chard-lovers and those who swear they drink ABC (Anything But Chardonnay.)
There is a price to pay for eclecticism: you can forget to drink the six grapes that provide the backbone for wine production throughout the world. These six "noble grapes"--Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir--have been cultivated all over the world and been made into distinguished, even legendary wines.
Because of its popularity there is a lot--and I mean a lot--of Chardonnay in the market. Some of it is buttery, some citrusy, and some oaky. As a consumer, how can you tell what's inside the bottle based on what's outside the bottle? More importantly, how can you find a bottle of Chardonnay that suits your taste buds given how much is sitting on the shelves?
So I decided to give you a week's worth of food and wine pairing suggestions, all of which began with an inspiring recipe on this site. I don't adhere to many traditional "wine and food pairing rules," like no red wine with fish, so I'm including a white wine and a red wine recommendation for each. And, because food and wine pairing can be intimidating, I'm going to explain exactly why I chose the wines I did.