It’s a Chardonnay I didn’t expect much from honestly. I opened it on a day when I was home alone thinking nothing special for a day that’s not special when I, myself, wasn’t feeling particularly special. But it’s those days that you wake up thinking everything is ordinary that something will strike you as extraordinary. So to, will the surprisingly nuanced Scott Family Estate Chardonnay.
About the Wine: To reiterate a bit about Scott Family Estate wines: Scott Family Estates is run by Rutherford Ranch Winery, a family owned and operated winery located on scenic Silverado Trail in Napa Valley (Rutherford AVA). And, though this specific location is known for their bold Napa Cabs, the producer has sought out locations outside their region that specialize in other varietals. Hence Arroyo Seco Chardonnay and the Scott Family Estate name and label.
Scott Family Estate 2015 Chardonnay is made from 100% Dijon Clone Chardonnay grapes harvested from the Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey County. Here, where the Monterey Bay and Pacific Ocean collide, is the perfect cool-climate temperature for Chardonnay.
The grapes went through partial malolactic and 50% barrel fermentation, then aged, sur lies in combination French and American oak.
Seems simple, standard, ordinary enough…no?
Flavor Profile: In the glass the Scott Family Estate 2015 Chardonnay presents a light straw color in the glass. Initial aromas are quite classic for a sur lie, ML, oaked Chardonnay — buttery popcorn, caramel, and hints of sour green apple. Swirl and sniff again, and you might just get the faintest scents of green grass dampened by the morning dew.
On the palate the Chard is full, round, smooth — with all the seeming decadence of a buttery white wine. And yet, there’s this very subtle, very thin line of acidity that walks through the center keeping the wine fresh, minimizing that stomach churning fullness one can sometimes feel when drinking full-bodied butter-bombs. The acidity brings a sparkle to the tongue, breaking up the fatty texture, and balancing the tasting experience completely.
The finish was what truly astounded me — with spices. Think of an apple pie — soft, supple fruit filling; buttery, flaky crust; but there are always spices involved. It’s as if the baker was just a bit too heavy handed with her nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. In an apple pie this could mean imbalance. For the Scott Family Estate Chardonnay it adds an element of surprise to the finish, a lingering heat in the tongue, a toasty feeling throughout the body. It’s the element that will have you sipping again and asking “Wait, what did I just taste?”
Food Pairing: The first night I enjoyed the Scott Family Estate 2015 Chardonnay I paired it alongside a very plain cheese quesadilla. What I loved was the chewiness and softness of the cheese working alongside that butter indulgence of the wine, while the wine’s acid and spices were able to cut through that same fat and texture.
The second night I enjoyed this Chardonnay, I had it alongside a very simple salad. In this case, the wine added body to the overall meal experience.
Obviously the Scott Family Estate 2015 Chardonnay can be paired with a variety of foods. Keep it fun and casual — it’s still, at the end of the day, a daily drinker and mid-week wine. But I definitely recommend something that errs on the side of decadence (even if it is just and uber-cheesy quesadilla); it’ll make the acid and spices standout and really work for and with your meal.
More Info: If you haven’t yet read my review of Scott Family Estate Russian River Pinot Noir, definitely do. I received the Scott Family Estate 2015 Chardonnay as a sample for review. (Cheers!) For more information about Scott Family Estate and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Scott Family Estate website.
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