It's the day before July 4th and I realize it would be appropriate to suggest red wines to pair with BBQ fare. But when it's hot and sunny, I'd rather drink something cool and refreshing (and that's what I plan to do!).
Last night, I had the opportunity to enjoy the 2011 Foxen "Steel Cut" Chardonnay from the Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara County). I would definitely recommend this easy-drinking white wine for a party (on Independence Day or any other time of year).
"This is Chardonnay?" my boyfriend asked me dubiously after taking a sip.
"It's my kind of Chardonnay," I answered.
If I had blind-tasted this delicious wine, I might have guessed it were a Sauvignon Blanc or some kind of white blend. Fermented entirely in stainless steel, this wine is fresh and lively and fruit-forward.
Subtle aromas of white flowers and lime peel give way to a vibrant palette of guava, gooseberry, and citrus flavors. Acidity is bright and refreshing. The long finish imparts mineral, seashell and lime--and persists until you take another sip.
I also noticed as this wine warmed up, I could taste pineapple and grapefruit. This was a unique and effusive light-bodied Chardonnay that was absolutely delicious on it's own, but it also paired nicely with the sautéed shrimp and summer squash I prepared for dinner.
There were only 250 cases of this particular Chardonnay produced ($32/bottle). This sample was received courtesy of Foxen Winery for review purposes but you can order yours through their website.
Foxen also makes Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Rhone-style reds, and Bordeaux-style reds, but the winery is known for producing outstanding Pinot Noir. I suggest you try any (or all) of their wines and visit the winery the next time you're in Santa Barbara!