On the hunt for a wine to pair with my mac 'n cheese recipe, I realized that Allegro currently has four Chardonnays on our roster. Here are a few notes on each, and on the differences among them:
Blanc de Blanc: This wine is from Brad Knapp at Pinnacle Ridge Winery in Kutztown. He's a master of bubblies, and this light and crisp wine is wonderful with seafood.
2017 Cadenza Vineyards Chardonnay: Grown in the "Crouch Block" (the original Chardonnay planting) of our estate vineyards in The Brogue, this is a special wine. The wine was barrel fermented with stirred lees for 6 months, contributing to its full mouthfeel and what Carl calls its "supple richness with a complementary raciness." It has a definite oak character which is well balanced with its fruit. Definitely still young, this wine still has years of in-bottle flavor development in its future.
Skin Chardonnay: This wine is a blend from Allegro's young vine Chardonnay grapes in 2017 and 2018. In the cellar, the wine was left in contact with its skins for a week. This is a process usually reserved for red wines, but in this instance it helps provide the young-vine fruit with more interest and complexity. The wine was aged in neutral oak barrels, giving it structure and balance. Carl says, "It's still Chardonnay, just turned up to eleven."
2019 Steel Chardonnay: This fruit was grown by Kris Kane of 21 Brix Winery in the Lake Erie region. Fermented in steel tanks rather than oak barrels, the wine is pretty straightforward, light and smooth. Unoaked Chardonnay doesn't usually have a ton of varietal character, just a nice soft peachy fruitiness.
So...I found in the end that the Skin Chardonnay was the best companion to my mac 'n cheese dinner, but all of the Chardonnays in the family definitely have their place on the roster of summer food wines.