Chardonnay pairings for holiday meals

  • Pointing the way: if it's white wine that you want at your Christmas table, Michael Robinson advises that you stick with chardonnay

    Pointing the way: if it's white wine that you want at your Christmas table, Michael Robinson advises that you stick with chardonnay


If you believe that only white wine should accompany light meats ,then I suggest you stay with chardonnay, as it has the weight and complexity to marry well with turkey.

The acidity brings out the flavours and, of course, that is why lemon juice is often squeezed on seafood and poultry.

As the stuffing, vegetables and cranberry all add considerable flavour, I would like to suggest Chardonnays that are known for their fullness of body.

Joseph Drouhin 2016 Meursault is what we refer to as a “village wine”, as the grapes are sourced from five plots around the village of Meursault in the Côte de Beaune.

The wine gives an immediate feeling of richness as the complex nose gives almonds, apple, pear, pineapple and melon.

The oak is discreet with its vanilla and the soil adds stony notes.

One review suggests that its drinking window is between 2018 and 2035.

I find the life span of many white burgundies quite amazing. $60.90.

Of the approximately 1,000 acres of vineyards that surround the village, about 240 are designated “Premier Cru” and probably Charmes is the best known.

Drouhin Meursault Premier Cru Les Charmes 2014 is from a most fortunate vintage that rates 95/100 on charts.

This is how Véronique Boss-Drouhin describes her wine: “At first sight the wine is a perfect illustration of its place name.

It is worthy of the wonderful Meursault, whose colour is golden without being yellow.

“The nose, concentrated and elegant, full without being heady, evokes aromas of almond, warm bread just taken out of the oven, hot croissant, then fine spice and finally grilled, dried fruit.

“The flavours are at the same refined level as the aromas.

The body is round without being heavy, the acidity is well integrated and is never biting. The texture feels like silk.” $95.15.

Now, let us travel to the New World and, at almost 5,000 feet elevation in the Andean foothills, the Adrianna Vineyard’s calcareous soils and cool climate are the promised land of chardonnay.

The fruit from the Adrianna Vineyard has a purity of flavours and a minerality that is particular to this vineyard and cannot be found anywhere else in the Mendoza region of Argentina.

The nearby, gravel-covered Domingo Vineyard makes up 20 per cent of the blend for Catena Alta 2016 Chardonnay.

Robert Parker rated this chardonnay 92/100 and wrote: “The 2016 Catena Alta Chardonnay was cropped from a cool El Niño year.

It is fresh and elegant, with high acidity and moderate alcohol.

“The oak is almost imperceptible, as the wine is very intense and pungent.

Eighty per cent of the grapes come from Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary, and the rest come from the Domingo Vineyard in Viña Bastías, in Tupungato.

“It was fermented in 225-litre oak barrels with wild yeasts, and only about 30 per cent of the volume underwent malolactic fermentation.

“The ageing lasted for 14 months and was in new, second and third-use barriques.

“It has a dark golden colour and an impressive nose with ripe yellow fruit and some notes of botrytis, but with a completely dry palate.

“It is round, lush and exotic, with the grapes taken from deeper soils and slightly warmer parts of the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary.

“It should evolve nicely and in a classical Burgundian way in bottle.” $33.10.

The last stop will be at California’s oldest continually operating winery that was founded by two German brothers in 1875.

Their names were Jacob and Frederick Beringer and they bought their first 215 acres of land in a valley called Napa.

In 1976, to celebrate Beringer’s 100th birthday, winemaker Myron Nightingale released a special cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.

From this, newly arrived Edward Sbragia, with his mentor’s blessing, went on to experiment with fermenting chardonnay in small, French oak barrels and other techniques not widely used in California at that time.

Thus was born the private reserve programme and Ed, who I have had the pleasure of knowing for many years, can make a claim of distinction that no other winemaker in the world is able to make.

He is the only person who has made a red and a white wine that have placed first on Wine Spectator’s list of Top 100 wines for the year.

Ed left Beringer to start his own winery in Sonoma (we have these).

Now, Mark Beringer has bought the family name back for this important responsibility.

I would like to tell you about the Beringer Private Reserve 2014 Chardonnay.

Decanter, the British magazine, awards it 95/100 and describes it in this way: “A fresh, fruity nose brings out notes of white flowers, golden apples and a certain touch of oak.

“This leads into a round, savoury palate loaded with new oak characteristics, hints of butter and butterscotch, a touch of apple and peach and a long finish.” $51.20.

I do hope that everyone on our island has a wonderful Christmas, as it should be a time for friendship and sharing.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm

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Published Dec 21, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 21, 2018 at 7:44 am)

Chardonnay pairings for holiday meals

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