Greg’s Caramelized Sweet Onion Soup – creamy, rich, layered – needs a wine that can stand up to it. Generally speaking, you can go two ways in choosing a wine pairing: you can either mirror the flavors and textures in the dish or contrast them. This time, I felt a strong sense of simpatico was called for. The Frank Family 2014 Carneros Chardonnay is such a complementary match.
A pleasing green-gold in the glass, a swirl shows this bright young wine’s power (and relatively high alcohol content at 14.5%) with prominent, languid legs or tears. The nose first presents a strong floral impression, that of honeysuckle, followed by ripe tropical fruit and wet stone notes. Your first taste surprises you with its quenching dryness and tartness on the sides of your tongue, surprising in a wine with such a round, lush mouthfeel. This balance of medium-plus acid combined with Chardonnay’s signature oaky butteriness is further enhanced with baking spice highlights, nutmeg in particular. In fact, a strange picture began to form in my mind: banana cream pie. Although not overly sweet, you have the lush tropical fruit aroma, the creamy texture, and a savory buttery crust.
So how does this relate to Greg’s soup? Well, the dish’s generous portions of butter, cream and olive oil crisped croutons certainly complement the brioche notes in the barrel-fermented, lees aged Chardonnay. And I got a slightly coconutty texture from the soup, which Greg said may have been from the minced garlic, mirroring the lush texture and tropical notes in the wine. While the soup is rich and sweet from the caramelized onions, the acid in the wine cuts the paired experience down a notch, allowing you to indulge in another serving. And another glass of this plush, pure expression of a well-crafted small production California Chardonnay. KEN
I received complimentary samples of Frank Family Chardonnay. All opinions are my own.
Also pairs well with roast chicken, shellfish, butter/cream, mushrooms, onions and garlic
- Category White Wine
- Varietal Chardonnay
- Region Carneros CA