Advent – Day 2

Wine: 2019 Chardonnay (from the Holiday Sweater Collection)
Winery: American Vintners (Central Coast, California)
Cheese: Applewood

Day 2’s wine is the Chardonnay. ๐Ÿ™‚ It figures. Seeing as American Vintners is a California winery, one would expect to find a Chardonnay among its selection. After all, the California Winery Advisor calls Chardonnay the “Queen of California Wine”.
But this Chardonnay had some surprises for me. Most notably I was taken aback at just how fruit forward this wine was. This is a very fruity Chardonnay. Tropical fruit (esp. papaya) and peach dominate the palate and if it wasn’t for the slight hint of butter and baking spice one could almost assume that the wine was aged in stainless steel instead of oak. As it turns out the wine is only slightly oaked, in French oak barrels instead of American. I found that to be a welcome break from most California Chardonnays, some of which are so heavily oaked I like to joke that I get splinters on my tongue from drinking them. ๐Ÿ˜€

But not this Chardonnay. I didn’t taste any of the burnt toast or heavy spicy and vanilla flavors that is usually associated with oak. If you’re looking for that sort of thing, you will probably be disappointed. That said, my Carleen usually prefers oaked Chardonnays to unoaked and she said she enjoyed this one nonetheless. It is a medium bodied wine, with a lively acidity, and yet a gentle warmth of alcohol undergirding it. The finish was nice and long. I had this with some leftover shrimp and rice pilaf I reheated for lunch and it paired really well. Overall, it was a welcome surprise for me, definitely unique from many of the other California Chardonnays I had. I’m giving it a 4.0 (A).

And what about the cheese? Ilchester’s Applewood is a smoky cheesehead delight, with sweet smokiness on the nose and a sharp, rich flavor. A little more nutty than the cheddar and not quite as creamy but still has a nice mouthfeel at the end.

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