I got out of the pool a few days ago, and was asked to open a bottle of 2013 Mer Soleil Silver*. I did this while smelling the chicken baking, onions and potatoes roasting and looking at a fresh salad on the table. Life is good.
Whatever road you travel, I hope you can always say that.
Those of you who know me are very aware that I am not a wine drinker - just a wine thinker. So the wine I open these days is usually for Karen or our friends and family.
After I arrived in the USA some 20 years ago, I worked and lived in Las Vegas: the city of free drinks. Not many places in Vegas gave away good wine, but they offered good quality spirits. From the mid-nineties I become more of a rum drinker than a wine drinker.
Adding to the above, I sometimes tasted up to 60 wines a day in my job. A person's brain gets tired when tasting like this. These tastings were needed for business, not pleasure. Good wine takes analysis when you are buying for upscale restaurants. To stay ahead of the competition, you must taste and purchase good wines, or your competitor can purchase it and you might be without something your customers want.
Even if I preferred my personal drink to be rum, I still took a keen interest in wine and always enjoyed drinking a good bottle. Because of my position, I was on the road in Napa Valley and other California wine regions on a regular basis. Road trips through California wine country. Life was good.
Since summer is a great time of the year for road trips, allow me to be your wine GPS for a few minutes.
The July 31, 2015 issue of Wine Spectator has a feature on Chardonnay, with a nice chart giving the vintage ratings of California Chardonnays. Although the chart gives the quality of wines for the last seven vintages, please note that white wines fade after about three years. They do not improve with age like most good red wines.
2007 and 2013 scored good marks on the chart, but 2007 is too old to drink now. Basically, what WS was telling us is that there was no great and prolific vintages between 2007 and 2013. Note: 2011 was a good quality wine, but the vintage didn't produce much wine.
The 2013 vintage in Napa, Sonoma and Carneros was fairly good, vibrant and plentiful. People often think "vintage" means a particularly great year - it doesn't. It simply means the product of one particular year.
The writer of the Wine Spectator article liked Meiomi Chardonnay 2013 from the California Coastal Region. 49% of the grapes come from Santa Barbara. The rest of the blend is 30% Sonoma and 21% Monterey. The very informative label describes tropical fruit notes from Santa Barbara, Sonoma crisp apple and mineral content, and Monterey ripe stone fruits and creaminess.
Wine Spectator gave the 2013 Meiomi an average score of 90 for the quality of the wine and 90-93 for California Chardonnays of 2013 vintage. It is well worth a try and in a good store it should be under $20.00
Since we had been big fans of the 2007 Meiomi Pinot Noir, we decided to try their Chardonnay. Using a tasting chart that I modified for the novice Chardonnay drinker, Karen's tasting notes of the Meiomi was as follows:
"It has a clear straw colored appearance, mineral scent, hint of wood and a vibrant acidity character. The wine was "musty" in a nice way. The wine has a good length (aftertaste), a little bitter citrus flavor, dry with medium body and can be drunk with or without food."
The wine is well structured and the minerality of it paired nicely with creamy risotto, lemon chicken with mushrooms and a salad with lemon dressing. Hint: The fruit flavors are hidden in this wine so do not drink these wines too cold.
2014 Chardonnays are just reaching the market now and the USA wines should be good and plentiful. It is a long hot summer and a nice bottle of cool Chardonnay can and should be enjoyed.
Be safe in your travels and take care on the wine(ding) roads! Most of all - make sure life is good!
*See the 6/20/15 blog that speaks about Mer Soleil Silver.
Below is a wine evaluation chart that I modified for Chardonnay tastings. Hope you enjoy trying it out when you open another bottle of Chardonnay.