Friday, February 6, 2009

Chard or Viognier?

Last night to go with chimichurri salmon (thank you Trader Joe's, yeah!) and roasted golden acorn squash with butter, kosher salt and herbs from the garden, we opened up a bottle I've had for awhile. It's one I got from a work holiday party over a year ago (when we used to get gifts -- guess I should be thankful we even had a party this past year) and I didn't have high expectations. I wasn't expecting much since it was a Chardonnay (one of my least favorite varietals by far) and it was from Coppola's everyday label, the Diamond Collection.

But I decided to give it a whirl and, while it smelled like an oakey, buttery Chard, it had much crisper flavors of apple, tropical and stone fruit than I expected. It tasted like something else, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Brian called it though -- "It's like a Viognier," he said. I was impressed with his on-the-money call. Its resemblance to a Viognier -- albeit one crafted for the California pallet -- was why we liked it. (Both of us usually turn our nose up at much of the domestic Chardonnay). It went well with the oiliness of the salmon and the rich flavors of the squash, just as a Viognier would have as well.

The similarities reminded me of the blind tasting challenge at the Wine Bloggers' Conference this past fall. The very first taste stumped both myself and Jessica (who made it to the final round as the only woman with five guys!) as well as a good portion of the room. We were positive the varietal was Chard, but it turned out to be Viognier. Before then I had never had a wine that so closely resembled both varietals, but as last night proved, it wasn't the last time!


B said...

Impressed I tell ya!