Varietal of the Month: Los Carneros California Chardonnay

As the world’s most popular and versatile wine, Chardonnay really needs no explanation. But winemakers know that Chardonnay grapes can’t just be grown anywhere. The success of a Chardonnay relies heavily on the location, soil and climate of where it is grown. In recent years, many California Chardonnay enthusiasts have learned some of the best Chardonnay wines are coming from an American Viticultural Area that lies in both Napa and Sonoma county called Los Carneros. Because of its location, near San Pablo Bay, these 9000 acres of vineyards possess their own microclimate. The proximity to the Pacific Ocean makes it cool, windy and damp and attributes to the wine’s acidity and roundness. The moisture-retaining clay soil puts less stress on the vines root system allowing for a longer growing season. This gives the grapes a chance to stay on the vine longer and let flavors mature.

Wine of the Month: 
Truchard Chardonnay
An intense nose of pineapple, baked apples, and honeysuckle with hints of nutmeg, fig and toasted oak. The mouth is clean and bright filled with flavors of fresh pear, quince, and lemon zest. Firm acidity provides a crisp finish of citrus, mineral, and spice.

Grown in the southern part of the Truchard Estate Vineyard, the vines range from 24 – 46 years old and benefit from the various marine soils, gently sloped terrain, and cooler temperatures of the Carneros area.  They produce aromatic wines with tropical fruit characteristics and a unique spicy element.

Barrel fermented in French oak for 10 months. A partial malolactic fermentation allows the wine to retain its natural acidity, while regular stirring of the lees gives added complexity and richness.

Food Pairings:
Chardonnay that has been through both oak aging and malolactic fermentation pair best with meats such as chicken, lean pork and veal. Creamy sauces and mild cheeses help balance the acidity and minerality.

Recipe: Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 strips of lemon peel
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 (2-inch) piece Parmesan cheese rind, optional
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup pasta, broken into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken, preferably breast meat
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt

In a large stockpot, bring the chicken broth, lemon juice, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind, to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the broken pasta and cook until the pasta is tender, for 7 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and peas and heat through, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, lemon peels and Parmesan rind and discard. Season with salt, to taste. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Makes 6 cups.

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