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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, February 6, 2023
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The Myth of Chardonnay

Wine is a mystical and magical potion. Our understanding has to be limited as there are so many variables that I don’t think there is a living person that can possible know everything.
I elected to learn as much as possible about a little portion of that great big world. My choice was French Wine. I have learned and am still learning, and will die learning and regretting what I don’t know, but I carry on because learning about wine, especially French wine is an adventure and a pleasure, and I look forward to learning something new every trip I take to France.
Granted, there are great wines grown all over the world; California, Spain, Chile, Italy, Argentina, Australia, Germany, and on and on, but I think French wine has that little something extra that most others lack. Then there are the centuries, not decades, of experience that most countries don’t have and there is the huge appreciation of food in France that ranks higher than anywhere else.
When French people sit down to a fine dinner, the conversation is often about the meal being eaten, the meal they had yesterday, and where they are going to eat tomorrow. Naturally, a huge part of this is what wine was, or will be appreciated with these meals. Sometimes an entire meal is planned around a special wine that was put aside for a special occasion or received as a gift. Wine paired with food is challenging and rewarding if done well, but that’s for a later column. This column is about Chardonnay.
Let me tell you a little something about Chardonnay. I have been told by true wine lovers: “I am so tired of Chardonnay !!! What have you got that is a little different, but still…” choose one: a) crisp; b) dry; c) buttery; d) full-bodied; e) fruity.
Chardonnay can be any of these or all of these. Chardonnay is a variety of grape. It’s magical conversion into wine is the function of many things: the soil and climate of where and when the grape was grown, the amount of sunlight, the ripeness at time of picking, the pressing method and many others. The making of the wine is the art and skill of the winemaker. They can take identical pressings (the juice of the grape when first pressed) and make completely different wines, oakey, dry, buttery.
At a recent wine tasting I hosted, I served three white wines in addition to six reds. The three whites were all Burgundy 100 percent Chardonnay Grape, and yet they were extremely different. Guests were all surprised to taste one very rich and buttery, the Roux Saint Aubin La Pucelle. One dry and slightly fruity, the Rully Domaine Saint Michel Premier Cru Reborce, and a Roux Pouilly-Fuisse which was crisp, dry and slightly flinty.
Try some different French Chardonnays. Life is an adventure !

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