I have to say that I have a lot of fun with the “national” and “international’ wine days. I lovingly refer to them as “wine holidays.” And while I don’t make them all, I do try to drink up on or near whatever wine day that’s being celebrated. I recently raised a glass on World Malbec Day (April 17) as well as International Sauvignon Blanc Day (May 6). I’ve heard some folks complain about how it’s all a marketing ploy, blah, blah, blah. So what? I look at it as a time to drink a wine that I don’t generally drink a lot of or if it’s a wine that I drink often, I at least try to find a different country or producer to discover. Either way, it’s all good and people just need to lighten up.
Now admittedly, if there was ever a wine that didn’t need attention drawn to it, it’s Chardonnay. As one of the most widely planted white grapes in the world, it’s known to just about all wine drinkers. Now whether they drink it is a different story. But someone is drinking it as it is also one of the most consumed white wines in the world. I have to admit that I’ve been a part of the “ABC” (Anything But Chardonnay) club for years now. In the beginning of my wine drinking life, I drank a lot of Chardonnay after weaning myself from White Zinfandel. I thought I was all fancy and stuff, but my tastes kept evolving and eventually I started to dislike just about every Chardonnay I tried.
But as it turns out, I just wasn’t drinking the “right” Chardonnay. So while I spent well over a decade focusing on reds, I was missing out on the wonder that Chardonnay could truly be. Now part of that was due to some of the very bad, over the top, over oaked, over everything Chardonnay that was out there. But even then, there were still some good ones to be had. I just didn’t know any better. Today, there are fewer of those “over” Chardonnays as winemakers are using much more restraint with using oak and many just utilizing stainless steel to age the wines. I also opened myself up to Chardonnay from other regions around the world. It’s produced just about everywhere including Australia, Chile, Italy, Greece, and Austria and in California, Washington, and New York in the U.S. Never stop learning…
Incidentally, there are three published days for Chardonnay Day – May 21, 23, and 26. At least they are all in May! So because of the other wine holidays that are coming up (May 24 is the Judgment of Paris anniversary and May 25 is National Wine Day) and because I don’t like to wait, I chose the first one. May 21 for me this year!
This year I decided to celebrate Chardonnay Day with a Chablis as it was on my mind. I’d had one several months ago that really got my attention (OK, it made me swoon) and made me want to drop everything right then and buy all the Chablis I could find. It was a 2013 Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Premier Cru La Forest. Of course, I can’t seem to find it now. For folks that aren’t in the know, Chablis is the northernmost region of Burgundy. Chablis is Chardonnay and nothing more. You won’t find anything else grown in the region. It is known for its mineral or “flinty” profile and the region is generally very cool with cold winters and cool summers. Because of the cooler climate, the wines tend to be very crisp and acidic and fresh and are very different from other White Burgundies which are a bit weightier and rich. The main difference is that most Chablis doesn’t see oak while other White Burgundies are aged in oak barrels.
I actually had two different bottles that I was considering.
But I ended up opening the 2013 La Chablisienne Chablis La Pierrelee which retails for about $20. Not breaking the bank at all!
While this Chablis didn’t wow me like the one I’d had a few months ago, it was solid and was exactly what I expected it to be. Beautiful straw yellow with lovely citrus and green apple on the nose. The plate revealed a creamy wine with the telling minerality and bracing acidity that you expect with a Chablis. It was prefect with my crab!
So long story short, I have removed myself from the “ABC” club and have begun to embrace Chardonnay for all that it offers. It took me a minute, but I definitely appreciate this fine grape and can’t what to continue discovering all that it is all over the world. Cheers!