Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bonding Over Unoaked Chardonnay

I'm no wine snob. I like what I like, sometimes I like it too much, but that's for a whole other sort of blog. I also enjoy wines according to the season. Generally whites in the summers and reds in those cold Southern California winters.

You may know that I am an event planner for Good Gracious! Events and that gives me plenty of opportunity to advise clients on all sorts of things, including their beverage selections! This week I was meeting with a first-time client in Coto de Caza, CA (the high-security gated enclave that is home to those horrible Real Housewives of Orange County.) My new client Valerie was an amazing and down-to-earth woman who could never be mistaken for one of those reality TV shrews so she and I hit it off immediately.

After choosing her menu, selecting her china, and designing her tabletop and flowers the subject turned to wine. Here in California we are in our version of autumn which means temperatures have ranged between 75-85 degrees this week while she was asking for my recommendation for her white wine.

I said, "If you asked me a month ago, I would have suggested a very nice New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but I think I am done with those for the year. How about an unoaked Chardonnay?"

Val's eyes lit up! We were exactly on the same page and we will always have that in common. She loved her dinner party last night and immediately booked a holiday event for December. Score.

Here are a few unoaked "chards" that you may want to try. Not as grassy and bright as my favorite summery Sauvignon Blancs, and a great transition before the big, bold, and buttery more traditional Chardonnays. Each one of these has been rated a 90 score by one wine publication or another.

Babich Hawkes Bay, 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay, New Zealand
Notes: Pear, Honey, Peach, Melon
About $13

Plantagnet Omrah 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay, Australia
Notes: Bold yet young and fresh, Citrus Zest, Kumquat
About $15

Sebastiani Russian River Valley 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay, Russian River, California
Notes: Orange Blossom, Banana Peel, Mineral, Peach, Vanilla
About $19