Cheers To You

An exploration of all things wine with local wine expert Mary Earl.
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What we’re drinking: J. Lohr Chardonnay

March 6th, 2013 by brynn grimley

Brynn writes:

A couple weeks ago I was having a rough couple of days, well more like a rough long weekend. It wasn’t any one thing that was making it stressful, it was more like 100 things.

I decided to allow myself the luxury of a glass (or two, or three) of wine to relax after a long day of juggling work and being a single mom while my husband was away covering a wrestling tournament at the Tacoma Dome. (Have you ever tried to write a 40-inch story while trying to keep a 9.5 month old entertained? I don’t recommend it.)

I had a hankering for white wine, but when I went to our collection I realized the whites I had to choose from were a little pricier than what I was looking for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to pull the cork on a nice, $40 bottle of white, but when I’m drinking just a glass (or two, or three) I feel better pulling it from a $8 to $10 bottle.

Deciding to remedy this problem, I went to Fred Meyer to look for some “everyday” whites. And that’s where the J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay caught my eye.

I’ve had this white before and really like it. (Warning if you’re not a fan of oaky chardonnays, this wine is not for you). What I like about this wine is, for roughly $12 you get a wine that tastes like it comes from a much higher price point. It’s full-bodied mouthfeel is creamy and rich and balanced by acidity.

Here’s what the website says about the California-based winery’s 2011 vintage:

2011 joins 1991, 1998, 1999 and 2010 as the coolest vintages of the last twenty years. These years are characterized by either El Niño or La Niña Pacific Ocean influence, with above-average rainfall and unseasonably cool summers. Despite the challenges that cold weather can bring, such as increased mildew and botrytis pressure, these cold vintages have produced outstanding varietal definition in our Chardonnay and White Riesling in the Arroyo Seco. The Chardonnay showed ripe apple, citrus and nectarine flavors with high levels of natural grape acidity. As a result, we incorporated higher levels of malolactic fermentation to balance the acidity in our 2011 Riverstone Chardonnay, creating a wine with intense varietal character, palate weight and palate-cleansing acidity.

Winemaker’s comments:

This elegant Chardonnay has an attractive pale straw-yellow color. The aromas are of nectarine, pear and apple, combined with a perfumed roasted hazelnut and butterscotch bouquet from the barrel fermentation and sur lie aging. The flavors are very soft with ripe pear, tangelo citrus and vanilla toastiness, producing layers of complexity with a silky balance of fresh fruit acidity and palate weight. —Jeff Meier, Winemaker

Food pairings:
Pair with dishes such as lobster pappardelle with chive butter, grilled late summer vegetables and creamy butternut squash soup.

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