If there’s anything we know about Chardonnay, it’s that it is highly adaptable to its environment. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Oregon—heck even Canada—all have areas that produce premium Chardonnays. Yet all are so distinctly different, all so uniquely dependent on both environmental (soil, climate, altitude and latitude) and human factors (grape grower, winemaker).
In California, Chardonnay is our most-planted white wine grape variety. It’s produced all over the state and, given the size of the state and the amount of wine producers, it can be expressed in a number of different styles. Today I’m zeroing in on three specific AVAs: Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, and Dry Creek Valley—all part of the Northern Sonoma AVA in Sonoma County, Calif.
I like Balletto wines. I like that they are easily accessible in every sense of the word. They’re available at most local shops; they’re affordable; and they’re (most importantly) fun and easy wines to drink. I’ve yet to be disappointed by anything by Balletto — and they have the added perk of still being a family-run business who sources their grapes from their own estate vineyards. So of course after enjoying their classic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay offerings, I was most eager to give their sparkling brut rosé a go in conjunction with my holiday sparkling wine series.
Was I late to the Ferrari-Carano game? Maybe. I believe I’d had their Fume Blanc sometime in the past, but don’t feel like I truly became a part of the FC club until I tried their UNA GSM Red Blend. While that one seems to be a bit of an anomaly amongst their portfolio, it certainly hooked me and made me understand why this iconic vineyard is, well, iconic, and has such a heavy cult following. Today, I continue my exploration of Ferrari-Carano with one of their classics — their Sonoma County Chardonnay.
Just in time for the holiday season, Cindy Cosco — owner and winemaker of Passaggio Wines — is about to release 7 new red wines. In fact, if you’re in the area, you should join Cindy for her Fall Holiday Wine Release Party this coming November 11 and 12. But, if you just can’t wait for something amazing from this passionate winemaker, then you’re going to want to connect with this red blend — available to purchase and ready to drink — now!
I present to you Passaggio Wines 2015 Connect Red Blend…
I am always looking for wine education — in any form. And that is exactly what Corner 103 provides. Their modest location in downtown Sonoma (yes it’s on a Corner and yes the address is 103) offers guests the chance to taste through the winery’s complete portfolio learning everything from proper glassware to — yay! — food pairing. The experience is intimate, the winery will book no more than 10 guests at a time, which means the wine nerd in you will get all the one-on-one attention she’ll need. Hm…I guess it’s time for me to book my visit then…