I like an oaky chardonnay. There, I said it– don’t judge me. I realize that stainless steel is all the rage in everything from white wine fermentation vats to kitchen appliances, but as with most things preferences depend on circumstances. Saying you don’t like oaky chardonnay is like saying you don’t like rain. Sometimes you need rain, as we (desperately) do here in California.
And sometimes you need an oaky chardonnay. For instance, if you’re choosing a wine to complement a rich, complex dish featuring creamy, sweet, savory and bright elements. Like Greg’s Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Potato Purée and Sautéed Apple Slices.
Concha y Toro “Amelia” is a Lightly Oaky Chardonnay
This oaky chardonnay hails from the Casablanca Valley in central Chile, west of Santiago. Closer to the sea than the Andes, Casablanca’s cool breezes and mild winters allow for a relatively long growing season which in turn allows concentrated flavors to develop. The winemakers of Concha y Toro were Chilean Chard pioneers, planting high quality vines way back in 1982. The “Amelia” is a limited release offering from their Las Petras vineyard.
This is not a shy wine. Aromas of green wood, pungent fruit (apple, nectarine) and a bit of funk (resin) assault the nose. A swirl in the glass reveals a high alcohol content. On the palate the wine is both tart and sweet– my strongest impression is of lemon curd (and I love a good lemon bar for desert). Golden apple notes mirror the (sweetened) apple in Greg’s dish. The richness of the apple-potato purée tames the assertive acidity (needed to prevent a cloying quality). And the sweet raisin accents bring out the caramel notes imparted by the toasted oak barrels.
So don’t dismiss an oaky chardonnay out of hand. To paraphrase the Mounds versus Almond Joy quandary, sometimes you need oakiness, sometimes you don’t. KEN
Also pairs well with grilled, seared or roasted shellfish, roast chicken, wild mushrooms, sea bass with fennel purée, corn soufflé with bacon.
- Category White Wine
- Varietal Chardonnay
- Region Casablanca Chile