This week in Bus 305W, 48 millennial students tasted through 6 excellent California white wines. It was the beginning of the semester introduction to classic white varietals: chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, chenin blanc, and semillion. We also threw in a 6th “extra credit” wine, which was a gewurtraminer. The class did very well guessing the varietals correctly – even though we tasted blind.
Just to refresh your memory, there are only 5 classic white varietals in the world, even though there are more than 24,000 different names for grapes, and 150 commercially produced varietals. However, in order to be considered a “classic grape,” the varietal must meet 2 requirements: 1) Must have manifested QUALITY over a long period of time; and 2) Must have done so in more than one place in the world.
So at the end of the class, before revealing brand names and prices, we took our poll and the #1 favorite of the evening was the 2009 Husch Chenin Blanc from Mendocino. This is an exquisite wine with lovely floral nose; juicy white peach palate with crisp acidity, good concentration, and just a touch of sweetness on the finish. It will pair will with cheese, fruit, green salads, and chicken dishes with a cream sauce. This wine can be purchased at Bottle Bar in Santa Rosa, CA for only $7.49! What a deal! It is normally $11 per bottle. The small family winery is adorable to visit in Anderson Valley, and the vineyards are filled with yellow mustard and orange poppies in the spring. (http://huschvineyards.com)
The 2nd place wine – and very closely ranked—was the 2008 Rombauer Chardonnay from Carneros ($32 on the winery website; www.rombauer.com). This is a delicious full-bodied chardonnay with bright pineapple fruit; moderate toasty oak; and a long luscious finish. It tastes good on its own as an aperitif, but will also pair well with chicken and pork with cream sauces. I have a friend who loves it with cheddar cheese and another who likes to drink chardonnay with red licorice! Rombauer Winery is located in Napa on a hillside with lovely gardens. In fact the photo above is the Rombauer gardens in spring time with azaleas. Perfect for this spring time blog posting!