2008 Rombauer Chardonnay, Carneros

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VERDICT: "Smashing stuff"
Chardonnay, 14.4%% alc.
Review by Clinton Stark

I’m really liking the “unoaked” Chardonnay trend. There is almost nothing worse than a buttery, almost oily, creamy Chard, especially served too warm. The main reason is another of the wine words: structure. Less oak, to me at least, means more room for tannins—the alcohol and minerals that deliver a nice wine instead of juice.

This Rombauer is a fine example. At 14.4% it brings some heat, but not at the expense of flavor and drinkability. It’s also a little young. Some friends brought this one over for a dinner party. We paired it with endless Chinese food. A nice combo.

Riesling would do well here too. But this Chard added some smoothness, and an inkling of class to the dripping oils, meats and fried sins.

The need to know: on the nose, some nice tropical fruit, with slight vanilla… no Sauvignon Blanc pear overload here thankfully. Perfect amount of acidity and clean finish with some pineapple along, again, with a stroke of vanilla.

So, there you have it: an unconventional food & wine pairing, and a great result.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear