White Wine Review: Edna Valley Chardonnay 2005
Every once in a while I do something crazy. Most of the time, the end result confirms I’m crazy. Once in a blue moon, however, I hit on a wonderful idea, or a match made in heaven.
I live in the Northeast United States, where right now it is cold. Not cold compared to Minnesota, but cold compared to most parts; it’s about 12 degrees right now, negative 15 with the wind chill. Appropriately, I’m warming up a bowl of homemade chili (turkey and bean). And I’ve decided to open up a bottle of … Edna Valley Chardonnay.
Huh? Who drinks white wine in the middle of winter? And who matches white wine with chili?
Well, I’ll try to explain …
First of all, I built up a sweat while moving wine bottles from one side of the condo to the other. Secondly, my chili is made from ground turkey — a white meat — plus beans and corn. There are of course tomatoes in the recipe, which would make it more conducive to a red wine, but the only other red thing in the pot are red kidney beans, which go well with either white or red. Finally, I’ve had this bottle of Chardonnay hanging around since my Thanksgiving tastings (never got to match it with turkey dinner), and it was sitting near the door so it was already cold. What the hey, I say …
While it wasn’t a match made in heaven, it certainly wasn’t bad. In fact, the Chardonnay worked very well thank you with my lean chili. The oaky sweetness of the Edna Valley played nicely against the moderate heat (not much, it came from adding a few pickled hot peppers). And since the wine is a bit on the fat side — not too much acidity — it is a better match for leaner dishes such as my chili. If I tried to put this wine up against a fish in a creamy or buttery (i.e., fatty) sauce, for example, it would fall flat on its face. Instead, it works fine against the lean turkey and high protein beans that dominate the dish. Also, understand that my chili has only moderate heat — I don’t make it so spicy that perspiration beads on my forehead. If I did, I might consider going with a low-alcohol, perceptively sweet German Riesling.
On its own, the Edna Valley Chardonnay is round and full with a creamy texture, forward fruit (pear, apple, banana), and a good dose of spicy vanilla oak. As mentioned, the acidity is on the low side, so don’t try it with fatty or acidic dishes; stick with leaner plates such as mildly prepared but gamey flavored fish (salmon) or better yet chicken, turkey, or lean pork. It’s more of a cocktail drinker — in other words, enjoyable by itself.
a-8 t-8 b-7 fc-7 v-7 ~ 87 Points