What Did I Drink Last Night: 2009 Llano Estacado Texas Chardonnay, Unoaked
After the events of the past few days, I needed something to get my mind into more of a chill. It was a real kick for Ben Simon at Vinotology and me on VintageTexas to “break” the Gruet/CapRock auction story. But, with just a little pun intended, it was grue-ling, non-stop action starting Sunday afternoon through mid-day Tuesday just keeping the website updated as the news, comments and Ben’s video were available. The activity on the VintageTexas was at an all time high (http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=1904).
I needed to celebrate. Some people, like Ben and retired Texas wine consultant Charles McKinney were going to open bottles of Gruet Sparkling wine in their cellars obviously saved for special celebration. Not having a bottle immediately at my disposal, I stopped a moment to think before going for a mere …impulse pour.
I figured that I needed a wine appropriately of Texas appellation; one that features a Lubbock label, too. My assessment also brought me to the realization that, as I mentioned in my blog last Saturday (http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=1864), it was time to recalibrate my palate.
With the Sparkling Gruets coming to Texas, I decided that I needed to tease my palate a bit with a shot of Chardonnay…Texas Chardonnay, that is. However, I am not really a lover of the big and brawny style of Chardonnay that usually carries a “Reserve” designation on its label. The perfect wine literally fell into my hands when I opened the left door of my wine cooler, that’s where I keep my whites. It was a 2009 Llano Estacado Texas Chardonnay, Unoaked, made from grapes grown in arid conditions at high elevations in west Texas near the Guadalupe Mountains (if you took a step back, you’d be in appropriately enough…New Mexico) and on the Texas high plains near Lubbock.
I poured a glass, savored it a bit and pondered what food I could prepare to be a worthy pairing to this wine. The wine’s color was just a shade beyond straw and the aromas were of citrus, peach with a touch of pineapple. It was quite enjoyable on its own, really. The wine was of light-medium body and held crisp and fresh by cold fermentation and an absence of oak aging or secondary malolatic fermentation. The taste was simple and unfettered with a finish of tropical fruit flavor, the only question was which one. I have a hard time remembering the difference between Guava, Passion Fruit and the plethora of other tropical fruits unless they are in front of me. However, it was all there in this wine; the tartness with a rich herbal undertone of a warm evening on the Brazilian Coast.
The food preparation had to be simple, near minimalist to match the Llano Estacado winemaking style in the unoaked Chardonnay. I thought of my old favorite, Pasta Carbonara but with a little twist, I made it Alle Vongole (with clams). To me, Chardonnay exists to be served with clams. So, to my normal preparation of grated Parmesan cheese, egg, prosciutto, and black pepper I added a helping of chopped clams and a pinch of minced thyme.
Cheers to Llano Estacado Winemaker, Chris Hall and Vice President/Executive Winemaker, Greg Bruni; See: www.llanowine.com