How cute is the couple sitting on a park bench looking out onto a blank canvas? It makes me think about how I’d fill that space…Yes, this is another instance of wine-label impulse buy. But my instinct must be getting better because even my label-driven wine purchases are proving quite choice. And today I bring you Simple Life Chardonnay: a truly simple Chardonnay that in its utter calmness has created a kind of contemplative drinking experience.

About the Wine: Simple facts for a simple wine. Simple Life Chardonnay is a production of Don Sebastiani & Sons — a wine producer with four generations and numerous labels under their belt. But this big-time (brand-name?) wine producer doesn’t even boast Simple Life on their main website, making this discovery feel somewhat like a special secret.

And maybe it is because the specs for this wine are quite general. Simple Life Chardonnay is made from 94% Chardonnay grapes and 6% Viognier from various California AVAs. Because Don & Sons undoubtedly have access to vineyards throughout the state, they’ve been able to pick from those they deem the best to create this wine (so says the site). It was aged 6 months in oak (50% new; 50% “seasoned”). 13.5% ABV

The winemaker for Simple Life 2015 Chardonnay is Gloria Mercado-Martín of Sivas-Sonoma Winemaking.

Flavor Profile: Simple is right and that’s not a bad thing. The wine emits a kind of greenish-yellow tint in the glass. Initial aromas are reminiscent of a lemon-cream pie, with its soft citrus notes and cream-filled undertones. There’s also a hint of herbaceousness in the background of the nose — I’m thinking Kaffir lime leaf (?). On the palate those bright citrus notes definitely come forward with an immediate dose of acidity that kicks the tastebuds into gear. Fruit flavors certainly include that lemon/lime zest, along with some tropical components such as papaya, grapefruit, and maybe the slightest hint of pineapple towards the end. But acid and fruits are all kept in check with this calming vanilla-cream undertone that runs the length of the wine, adding a softness to the mouthfeel as well as the flavor. I will add, though that acidity calms down in the middle, it finds its way back on the towards the end, leaving a soothing warmth all the way down the body for a comforting finish.

Food Pairing: Play up that soft, round mouthfeel and soothing warmth of the wine and pair Simple Life Chardonnay with a soft protein like salmon or ocean — especially if cooked en croute and served alongside elegantly steamed fresh vegetables. Conversely, this wine could pair well with a chicken or pork cooked tenderly and mixed in a cream-based pasta dish garnished with fresh herbs. Just think calm, creamy, comfort.

More Info: I purchased this wine at Safeway (Sale Price: $10). For more information about Simple Life wines, do visit the Simple Life website.

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