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Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Alaina Dodds
 
April 17, 2019 | Alaina Dodds

Chardonnay Throwdown

Did you know that we have three Chardonnays on our menu? Why, you ask? Because we can! The Chardonnay grape is one of the most diverse – and most planted – white grapes on Earth. It’s used for everything from light and zesty champagne-style wines (like our Cuvee Evan and Blanc de Blanc) to rich, buttery California-style Oaked Chardonnay (like our RLS Reserve) and everything in between. The climate and terroir where the grapes grow, as well as the winemaking, are the difference makers here.  

Today, we are going to talk about our three Chardonnays (only our still wines will be covered in this blog but click here to read about our sparkling Chardonnays), the differences between them, food pairings that go with each and finally tackle some common Chardonnay misconceptions. Instead of only reading about it, I thought it would be fun to do a little video series starring our rockstar duo Kevin and Jane.  

What makes our three Chardonnays different from one another?

Quick Facts:
  • Unwooded: all stainless-steel tanks, Citrus aromas of lime and lemon zest are layered atop crisp notes of green apple and pear. 
  • Big Paw: new this year, also stainless-steel fermented but a portion of it goes through malolactic fermentation process, which adds texture and body to the wine without losing too much of the floral and citrus aromas that waft off when white wines are aged in oak.  
  • RLS Reserve: Classic oaky buttery Chardonnay aged in French Oak, 100% went through malolactic fermentation, which gives it more complexity and a creamier texture with a soft oak finish. 
What is Malolactic Fermentation?

Malolactic Fermentation is a process where tart malic acid in wine is converted to softer, creamier lactic acid (the same acid found in milk). The process reduces the acidity in wine and also releases some carbon dioxide. Technically, Malolactic Fermentation is not a fermentation because it does not use yeast, it uses a different kind of bacteria (Oenoccocus Oeni). The result is a wine with a creamy, velvety texture. YUM! 

Food Pairings for Each of the Three Chardonnays

Quick Facts:
  • Unwooded: simple wine = simple food, grilled shrimp or chicken or shrimp and grits (but don’t do Cajun shrimp, the spiciness that would overwhelm the wine). 
  • Big Paw: a bit more complexity, so go for more complex and heartier food, such as pork tenderloin or grilled pork chips.
  • RLS Reserve: Big butter notes, so it would go great with pasta dishes, such as: carbonara, primavera, or fettuccini alfredo. If you’re feeling extra fancy, pair RLS with a lobster dinner! 

Side note: there is a simple and delicious recipe at the bottom of this blog for grilled pork chops from Kevin's kitchen! 

Common Chardonnay Misconceptions

Pouring all three Chardonnays for people at the tasting bar is fun for the staff. People often say that “they don’t like Chardonnay” and typically that means that they have only ever had the traditional oaky Chardonnay and that they don’t prefer the taste. If we can get them to try the Unwooded Chardonnay without telling them what it is, and then they like it because it drinks more like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, they are always surprised to find out it is a Chardonnay. But that is what wine tastings are for, to open your horizons and try some varietals and styles that you are unfamiliar with. Oaked Chardonnay is like the cilantro of wine, people typically either love it or hate it.  

We hope you enjoyed our Chardonnay Throwdown mini-series. Stay tuned as we continue having fun educating from behind the tasting bar, as well as behind the camera. Taste. Learn. Enjoy!
 

Shop all of our Chardonnay here.
 

Easy Grilled Pork Chops

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 Pork Chops (preferably center cut rib chops)
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 2 tsp. Thyme
  • 2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

  • Heat an outdoor grill to high heat.
  • Prepare your chops by rubbing both sides with olive oil.
  • In a small bowl, stir together paprika, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Sprinkle the mixture on each side of the pork chops and rub it in.
  • Grill the chops by searing each side for 7 minutes over the high heat.
  • Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

We suggest pairing with Big Paw Chardonnay. Bon Appétit!

Time Posted: Apr 17, 2019 at 12:49 PM
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