I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t already know this.
I’ve railed against unoaked chardonnay before: why would you bother, there are other grapes I’d rather have, chardonnay needs oak.
Who am I to argue with the French.
I obviously need to learn more of my French wine regions, but in the meantime, I’m going to put some respect on unoaked chardonnay. Especially if I’m lucky enough to have one show up on my doorstep.
I don’t actually remember changing my June allotment for my wine club at William Heritage to ship-to-home instead of picking up in person. But with everything going on last week, I was grateful that it just showed up and one less thing to worry about.
In this shipment was 2020 Unoaked Chardonnay. It’s one of the first releases under UC Davis-educated winemaker Kevin Bednar, who was hired in March 2020. (And here’s a cute short piece from Edible New Jersey about him and his fiancée Nichole Bambacigno moving out to the East Coast from E.J. Gallo in California to be winemakers at Heritage and Sharrott Winery respectively.)
This super clear light white is fresh and not heavy on the palate at all, belying its 13(!) percent alcohol. I get some melon and a bit of green apple on the nose, and green melon, a little lime, and a touch of mango on the palate. It’s got lots of acidity. Here’s your ideal sushi/chicken salad/almost any kind of green salad except arugula or radicchio/chilled shellfish/cold quiche accompaniment. Serve chilled but not ice cold so you can enjoy the fruitiness.
OK, I’ll allow there’s definitely something to be said, especially as we’re heading into a more sweltering summer, for a super food-friendly crisp and fresh wine. Let’s head out to the wine stores to look for other unoaked chards and see what we find. Let me know if you find anything you really like!