Last year 293,709,408 bottles of Chardonnay were sold in the United States (not all of them were sold to me, so don’t even start). That’s enough liquid to fill more than 88 Olympic-sized swimming pools with maybe enough left over to pour in my own modest pool, which would make my backyard barbecues a lot more popular.
In any case, the numbers have spoken: America loves Chardonnay. Welcome to the #Chardonnation.
OK, I didn’t come up with that hashtag, but expect to see it over the next few days. Because, as there is a day for every beverage and trendy food item — National Caffeine-Free Diet Mountain Dew Day, National Octopus Taco Day, etc. — May 25 has been dubbed National Chardonnay Day. It may also be National Wine Day. Reports are conflicting, but either one is OK with me.
Either way, Memorial Day weekend is here, and you’re going to want to drink some wine.
Now here at Poppin’ Bottles we have explored the dichotomy of Chardonnay, and yes, I get extra writerly points for using the word “dichotomy.” There is the oaky, buttery kind that people wineshame me about, and there is the unoaked sort for which I am developing a soft spot.
Clearly understanding this ongoing clash of titans, Notable Wines makes its debut with two wines that highlight the best of each style. The California Chardonnay hits oak, butter and vanilla notes; the Australia Chardonnay hits fruity and crisp notes.
Here’s what we thought:
California Chardonnay: This wine is not subtle. It wields its traditional Cali flavor profile like Thor wields that hammer thing he’s always tossing around. It slams you upside the head with weapons-grade oak and butter and vanilla. I never thought I’d say this but … it might have been a little too much for me, and I was spotted once doing a shot of clarified butter in public.
Australia Chardonnay: These South Eastern Australian grapes provide welcome relief from the onslaught of oak in its California cousin. It’s fruity without being cloyingly sweet, a fresh, winning, food-compatible wine that would pair well with seafood or a light pasta. It will not hurt you. It wants to be your friend.
How much: Both wines retail for $14.99.
Where to find them: Available around South Florida; check the wine finder at Notable Wines.