When very cold, there’s not too much vanilla in this typical chardonnay nose, but as soon as the wine warms up, the vanilla is pretty overwhelming in both aroma and flavor. In fact, the winery recommends this chard with foods as sweet as peanut brittle. While cooking dinner, I noticed tomato aromas seemed to meld very well with the vanilla scent of the wine. And when I paired the food and the wine, the tomato cuts the vanilla nicely. This wine has a medium body and enough structural acidity to hold up with some hearty, simple dishes. Classic pasta or pizza, maybe? Recommended with reservations. BSE

WHO: Estancia
WHAT: Chardonnay
WHERE: Monterey, California
WHEN: 2007
HOW MUCH: $19.99 SRP (media sample)

About The Author

Becky Sue Epstein

An experienced writer, editor, broadcaster, and consultant in the fields of wine, spirits, food, and travel, Becky Sue's work has appeared in many national and international publications including Intermezzo Magazine, Fine Wine & Liquor, Art & Antiques, Luxury Golf & Travel, Food + Wine, www.wine-pages.com and Wine Spectator. She began her career as a restaurant reviewer for the Los Angeles Times while working in film and television. Epstein is also the author of several books on wine, spirits, and food, including Champagne: A Global History; Brandy: A Global History, and Strong, Sweet and Dry: A Guide to Vermouth, Port, Sherry, Madeira, and Marsala.

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