Recently I had a discussion with a fellow wine nerd about the underrepresentation of California Chardonnays that have seen malolactic fermentation on restaurant tasting menus. Yes. This is what we talk about in our free time. And people wonder how a subset of the population with so much free wine remains largely single.*
What is malolactic fermentation? Well, to answer your question with a question, Invisible Person, why does Chardonnay so often taste like butter? That would be malolactic fermentation. (See what I did there? Yeah, me either.) I’m not going to get super technical about this because I failed chemistry in high school, but basically malolactic fermentation is the conversion of acids that cause tart, green apple, pucker-your-face flavors into a creamier, fatter, plush mouthfeel. Sounds incredibly dirty, but its not a stretch to say it can make wines a little sexier. The problem is, Chardonnay makers in California have a reputation of pushing it so far that the wine ends up tasting more like a tub of Country Crock as opposed to, you know, wine. Which also makes it very difficult to pair with food since some acidity is essential to refresh the palate, cut through fatty proteins, and match inherent acid in vinagrettes and fruits. But there is a revolution afoot as winemakers are making some really restrained wines that still showcase Chardonnay’s voluptuous side. Hold the Velveeta.
Case in point, the 2012 Bohème English Hill Chardonnay from Russian River Valley.
This is a fantastic, small production Chardonnay. It undergoes full malolactic fermentation so you will definitely pick up on its full bodied lushness. But the real beauty of it is that it doesn’t lose any of its more delicate nutty or stone fruit flavors. This is a perfect pairing for CURRY! Especially coconut curries with the citrus fruit notes and creamy body matching in weight and bringing brightness to the often times heavy dish. Here is one of my favorite curry recipes from the Pioneer Woman who I believe to be an Amish woman who apparently found some WiFi in Indiana.
I’m not going to act like this wine is cheap because ringing in at $45, it isn’t. I think $45 is a perfectly reasonable price point for such a beautiful bottle. And I’m pretty poor. Why do we think $80 is reasonable for a spray tan, but don’t want to spend more than $10 on a bottle of wine. Trust me. You get more for, umm, more. So cough it up for a special occasion or gift. You’ll thank me later. Or be mad at me because you’ll never be able to buy a bottle of Chardonnay with a picture of a cupcake on it ever again.
*The only reason I am not single is because I know how to cook and have an ass that won’t quit.