Perfectly medium-rare, melt in the mouth veal. Silky whipped parsnip puree. Thyme infused butter sauce. Just a sprinkling of raw pine nuts on top.

That was the meal I had planned, so I knew I needed something just as smooth and creamy as every element on that plate. I walk down the Chardonnay aisle (because of course I’m looking for a Chardonnay) and I see the words “Bread & Butter.” Now, if this doesn’t fulfill my every need and craving I don’t know what will…

(PS I was right).

About the Wine: Bread & Butter 2014 Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes from two different vineyards: one from the Carneros AVA just outside of Napa and one from the Arroyo Secco AVA of Monterey. Both are cool climate vineyards that benefit from cool bay breezes from the SF Bay and Monterey Bay respectively. Cool climate grapes have a chance to grow slowly, plump to perfection, yielding a higher amount of acidity — specifically malic acid (what we may think of as that kind of sharp, sour acidity). What the folks at Bread & Butter do is put these high malic acid-yielding grapes through malolactic fermentation which changes a certain amount of that sharp, sour acidity into the kind that tastes like, well, butter. They then age the Chardonnay in a combination of young (about 1 year old) American oak and new French oak barrels to add further depth of flavor along with that smooth mouthfeel we think of when we think of “oaky” wines.

As the Bread & Butter winemakers say, this process is the “bread and butter” of winemaking: taking what Mother Nature has produced and intensifying it, bringing us (the consumers, the drinkers) the best of what California AVAs have to offer. I like this quote from their website:

“Like the preparation of a great meal, a chef must start with great ingredients, but the mastery in the kitchen will separate a good dish from a great one.”

Bread & Butter 2014 Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, has gone through 100% malolactic fermentation, aged 8 months in combination American and new French oak, 13.43% ABV

Flavor Profile: Let me start by saying this wine just looks creamy in the glass. It’s deep champagne in color, and immediately emits a strong nose of caramel along with hints of white flowers and soft white fruits (I’m thinking white peaches or nectarines here). If there’s a hint of citrus along with these softer aromas, it is a subtle one (maybe more like lemon-cream pie than lemon zesty).

On the palate this wine is just as soft, smooth, and round as it sounds. The main flavor for me is a kind of vanilla meets almonds. The oak is certainly dominant, but there is a low level of acidity that is tangible to the tongue — just enough to balance the flavors so you’re not completely inundated with just the creamy flavors and textures. The fruits, as on the nose, are softer fruits such as mango, papaya, and peaches, all of which dance subtly on the back of the palate and continue to play a subtle role in the long, lingering aftertaste of this wine.

Overall, the 2014 Bread & Butter Chardonnay is well-balanced, but beyond that, it has a calm, soothing effect — in the mouth, inside the body, through to the soul. It’s truly something special.

Food Pairing: Well, you know what I ate when I drank this wine. The winemakers recommend shellfish served with a garlic butter sauce or homemade pasta (specifically gnocchi) with a cream-based sauce. I agree — really any dish with a soft-textured protein and a buttery or creamy highlighted element (like a sauce or puree) will pair perfectly.

More Info: I found this wine at Whole Foods (Price: $16.99). I’m now going to be on the lookout for their Pinot Noir — I adore Pinot Noirs and if Bread  Butter puts as much love into their Pinots as the do into their Chards, I think I may have a new staple in my cellar. Fingers crossed I can find it at a local shop, but all of their wines are available online. So, for more information about Bread & Butter and their wines, please do visit their website. Cheers!

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