Posts Tagged ‘chardonnay’

I really do hate to keep bringing up wine producers that I’ve mentioned in the past because there is a megaton of wine in this world and I have a secret goal to experience 75% of it.  Alas, I only have access to an estimated 10% through my local wine shop, a paltry 45 additional percentage points through the internet, and perhaps a lousy 2.5 percentage points more through my worldly travels.  That’s only 57.5% of completely made up figures!  The point is, we all live in a bubble.

Anyway, I had a smashed burger and a glass of Washington Chardonnay so I’m winning at life.

4oz of not so lean ground beef, divided in half and rolled into balls.  1 cast iron skillet perched atop a burner set to 11.  2tbsps butter thrown into the skillet and melted which was immediately absorbed by the two halves of a delightfully fluffy hamburger bun and then toasted.  Oh yeah, you gotta roll that bun in the butter and make sure a little gets on the outsides too.  Just toast one side of each bun half though, let’s not get too crazy.  When the skillet was smoking, the two meat ball were thrown on and smashed as skinny as I could make them.  After they browned in their own fat (Le Burger Confit, no?) in a couple of minutes, they were flipped.  Salt and pepper were then applied.  A 2yr aged cheddar was put on one of the patties because every burger should have cheese.  Once the Maillard reaction had set in on both sides, the patties were scooped a placed on the bun.

Wine: Dusted Valley Chardonnay 2014


OK, yes I had a side salad made of who cares and that was nice too.  I just want to get that out of the way for anyone worried about my health.

I don’t know why people still assume red wines pair better with burgers.  Maybe it’s the whole red meat, red wine thing? Regardless, I’m pretty sure everyone who has done it is completely on board.  Why does it work?  Well fat flavor begets fat flavor, for one. The trick with Chardonnay, and we’re talking the MLF, maybe some oak kind*, is always to find one with that delicate balance of butteriness and acidity, primarily in the form of green apple flavors.  Chablis is always the standard-bearer for this style and exemplar of balance, but they are certainly not alone in producing quality Chardonnays.  The best Chardonnays I’ve had are generally from cooler climates than central California, don’t carry too much oak, if any, and pack enough acid to make you not think you’re drinking a stick of butter.  Then when you mix that balanced Chardonnay with a fine cheeseburger to bring out the fact that you’re ingesting some delicious fat, protein, and carbohydrates…well, then you’re just living on the edge.

Oh yeah, the next night I added a dab of duck fat to the pan for a “twist”.  Then the third night I didn’t, but I just used 6oz of beef instead of 4…I may have a problem.  Good thing I ran out of meat.



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Have you missed the wine and food pairings?  My apologies.  They’ve missed you too!

Rating: 5/5

A coq au vin comprised of browned chicken (obviously) slow roasted over red potatoes, shallots, celery, carrots, leeks, with thyme, salt/pepper in a sultry shallow bath of broth and Burgundian white wine.  Juices were reduced with some butter for sauce.

Wine: Oliver Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc “Les Setilles” 2009

Quick review: If it is white and from Burgundy, it’s a good bet that it’s Chardonnay.  This particular one had a bit of oak, but nothing offsetting and it  melded beautifully with the food.  Providing some zip where there was a little fat, and providing some body, where the dish lay a little flat. This is one of those solid pairings that just hits home with me every time.  You may not enjoy this sort of thing if you’re not the sort who enjoys delicious food and wine together, but if you come across a rainy and cool day this summer, give this a try.  It will soothe your soul.  If you instagram your experience, that may soothe your soul too, but I just got an ok picture of the wine bottle out of it.

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Rating: 4/5

Garden salad comprised mostly of darker greens, green bell pepper, baby bella mushrooms, cucumber, tomato and a heavy dusting of chickpeas. Dash of balsamic vinegar.

Wine: Charles Smith’s Eve Chardonnay 2008


I’m really not trying to push Charles Smith wines here, but after the fun experience with his Boom Boom Syrah, I couldn’t just pass by this little number.  So I paired it Old Testament style with my favorite versatile and simple garden salad that clearly [sic] evokes the Garden of Eden to pick up on the apple nod from the bottle of Eve.  Let me state that the best thing about this experience was that it was a cool, crisp and clean burst at the tail-end of a scorchingly hot day  (103ºF in Minneapolis in June?  Really?).  Yes, you should pair your meals with the season and the day to some degree.

I generally tend to shy away from buttery Chards (aka: those with malolactic fermentation or MLF) that have heavy oak aging.  Instead, I lean toward a more crisp, Burgundy-style Chardonnay (Read: very limited buttery-ness or oaky-ness and yes, those are official words) and the wonderful people of the Washington wine scene seem to agree.  Eve had just a touch of butter in there, as maturing whites from Burgundy do which really brought out the chickpeas in the salad.  I tend to pile those on so highlighting my favorite part is never a bad thing. What generally prevents a salad and wine pairing from being perfect is the dressing.  Vinegar tends to react poorly with wine (more pronounced with reds) due to a chemical reaction that occurs.  I’ve found that in limited amounts, (dashes instead of dumps) the reaction’s output, a sort of pronounced sharpness, is so minimal that it really isn’t that noticeable.  What about creamy dressings, you ask?  To that I say, I’m not big on them.  While, you wouldn’t get the vinegar/wine reaction, the health benefits you could be getting from your salad sharply decline when using a creamy dressing.  If you really want a savory component in there, add a sprinkling of Feta, which also would have been a nice compliment to this salad.

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I’ve done a few wine and food pairings lately, mostly with people who are just getting in to wine or didn’t even know the world of wine had any depth to it.  The entire experience is centered around educating the participants about how to taste wine, what quality wine is and why it does or does not work with certain foods.  I start with the noble varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) and pair them with some fairly common foods so people can get an idea of why you pair one wine with one food, but not another.

When I was in Chile I noticed that everyone down there drank Cab Sauv with everything! Ceviche on the menu? Have some Cab Sauv with that!  It is the most produced wine grape in Chile and thus the highest amount of local consumption, but a lot of Chileans might benefit from something outside of a single grape every once in awhile.

Here is the Tasting Menu I use for my beginners wine and food sessions.  If you’re in the Minneapolis area and would like to organize something like this for you and your friends, let me know!

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