A few weeks ago, for my son's birthday, I put together a special dinner that included Maine Clam Chowder and Crab-stuffed Trout. Everyone I talked to recommended Chardonnay as the best pairing for the trout, so I put these two into the queue, as there were 8 people for dinner. As dinner was being served, I asked who wanted wine and I only got one response for "something without oak". So, I opened one of my 2011 Rieslings and the Chards remained in the queue until more recently.
2009 Arrowhead Springs Reserve Chardonnay – Estate – Niagara Escarpment – 13.1% abv. Natural cork. Light amber with generous nose oak and butter. Tasting alone, this was more reminiscent of a good quality Cal Chard, with oak tannin. My initial impression was that perhaps this should age a few more years for the tannins to soften. However, when paired with roast chicken, brown rice and mixed vegetables, the tannins provided a good complement to the chicken skin and it worked quite well with the dinner. http://www.arrowheadspringvineyards.com/
2010 Schulze Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve – New York State – 11.5% abv. Composite cork. While the winery is in Niagara County, I'm not sure where the grapes were sourced from. Medium straw color. Good nose of fruit – apple & peach. A very slight spritz appeared in the glass. A full, long finish with very refreshing acidity that cleansed the palate nicely between bites of Fettuccine Alfredo (with home made pasta). http://schulzewines.com/
Two very different approaches to the same grape, from two very different growing seasons – both enjoyable and complemented the food nicely.