• Lara Wiz

Not much contrast, but pretty beyond compare

Well, it’s spring! And there was a freeze warning for the night of April 22. Of course.


Speaking of things that should be heralding springtime, but aren’t totally, we should be getting ready for the NJ Winemakers Co-op Spring Portfolio Tasting. Where we get to meet the actual winemakers from the five participants, taste great local wine, hear about what’s going on in the vineyards.


Which is again not happening, because, plague.


However, the Co-op did sell a 4-pack of their latest release of Open Source chardonnay from the 2018 vintage. Yes, yes, I know I was supposed to not buy anything till I moved. The scarcity effect worked on me! There were only eight available!


Also, I love good chardonnay. I don’t love big bomby California chards, but on the East Coast it’s closer to Burgundy, a bit leaner and sometimes even a little citrusy depending on the year. At a past Co-op event, the winemakers agreed that if New Jersey should have a signature white, it ought to be Chardonnay.


Open Source is a project that exemplifies the collaborative spirit of the co-op. Toward the end of harvest season, they all get together with 2,000 pounds of chardonnay grapes from their respective vineyards. The fruit is pressed together, and everyone takes home 1/5 of the juice to make their own version.


I think the thought initially would be it would be interesting to see how everyone made their own version. But it turns out everyone really loves the same kind of classic Chardonnay, so they all pretty much do the same thing. There was one year when one winery used a different kind of wood for barrel fermenting, so you could tell theirs because it was a slightly goldier color.


So what you end up with is five very fine crisp clean Chardonnays (or four this year, Hawk Haven’s was not among the pack.)

I’ve written a bunch about William Heritage recently, so I decided to go with Working Dog and Unionville’s offerings. Working Dog Winery is in Robbinsville, not far from Trenton and Princeton. Unionville is slightly more northwest in Hunterdon County.


I’d love to tell you that my refined palate could appreciate the nuance between the two, but yeah naw. I do think the Working Dog had slightly more of a hint of orange blossom but that’s all I got. What they both are are slightly crisp, with great acidity, and just enough oak for smoothness. I tried both with chicken piccata (ordered in, my excuse is I’ve packed a lot of my pans!), and Unionville’s became a bit more floral with the dish.


At some point it will actually be spring, and I will actually finish moving, and I will have lots of chardonnay to sip in my new backyard. Gods willing.

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