Blackstone refuse to let convention get in the way of making the best wine they possibly can. Much like the Merlot
they are prepared to add whichever grape variety they think best complements the dominant varietal, in this case Chardonnay. Having tried it and been extremely impressed, we were then very surprised to hear it also contained 5% Malvasia Bianca and 2% Riesling!
Central Coast, California
Drink now + 2 years
Central Coast, California region of United States
A huge sprawling area of about 250 miles running from San Francisco County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south.
The Central Coast incorporates a number of different wine regions. Moving from north to south, they include San Luis Obispo County; a huge area with an equally huge production form all the usual international varieties. Within it, though, lies Paso Robles a region much-famed for its big and juicy Zinfandels.
Moving south to Edna Valley and the character of the Central Coast takes another turn. Here the influence is from the sea breezes which give the region a welcome coolness which makes the production of Chardonnay seem almost inevitable.
Further south again, and even cooler again, is Santa Barbara County. Here, the Santa Maria Valley can produce some remarkably crisp and refreshing wines, thanks again to yet more fog, which rolls into the low-lying vineyards.
Because it’s a relatively dry area, there’s no hurry to pick grapes early and so it benefits from a long grape-growing season, something which is always thought to produce a more complex in flavour grape. Here Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah seem to be the staple varieties.
Close enough to Los Angeles to allow tourists to visit for the day is the Santa Ynez Valley where Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah dominate. And then finally in the Central Coast strip is the Sta Rita Hills (spelt that way to avoid confusion with the Chilean producer Santa Rita) which produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but an increasing amount of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewürztraminercan be found is this climatically cool southern AVA too.
Dominant in Eastern France Chardonnay produces all great white Burgundies, Chablis and is a major grape varietal used for many Champagnes. It even takes its name from a village in the Mâconnais. The success and versatility of Chardonnay has resulted in it being grown across other wine producing nations, with particular success in Australia.
The characteristics of a great Chardonnay wine vary depending on the climate it is grown. In a cool climate (Chablis, Champagne) it is a steely wine, medium to light in body, with high acidity and green fruit notes. In medium, slightly warmer regions there are more citrus notes with buttery and honey characteristics. Then with hot climes you will find strong tropical fruit with lower acidity.
Chardonnay is almost always dry, and has a close affinity with oak. Typically the acids found in Chardonnay make it a strong wine for ageing, with the acids acting as a natural preservative.
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Salads & Vegetables
This style of wine would go with a grilled vegetable salad or an onion tart and the classic ratatouille.
Fish & Seafood
A fantastic wine to partner with shellfish such as crab or lobster. It would also work well with deep sea fish like swordfish, monkfish, tuna or turbot.
Pasta & Other Sauces
Butter and cream based sauces with the addition of mushrooms, pesto and pancetta work well with this wine.
A winner with poultry such as roast chicken and turkey but also a fine match to pork, ham and duck.
Herbs & Spices
This wine is a hit with ginger and parsley, tarragon and coriander but also works with classics like basil and garlic.
An instant hit with Indian coconut-based dishes such as Korma but works just as well with some Indonesian cuisine.
A treat with smoked cheeses and mozzarella and can handle most soft cheeses.