“Who doesn’t like chardonnay?” was one of the daring questions Jessica Schmit, Chateau St. Jean Tasting Room Rep and recent SSU Wine Biz grad, asked the audience of 40 Millennials who showed up to last night’s SSU Wine Sense Club tasting. When only one person was brave enough to raise his hand, Jessica dared him to a taste off of two CSJ chardonnays. In the end, he selected, along with the rest of the Millennials, the 2008 Ch. St. Jean Chardonnay from Durell Ranch ($28) as the favorite of the evening.
This was the Magic of White Wine Tasting (red wines happen in two weeks!), featuring six white wines made by Chateau St. Jean winemaker, Margo Van Staaveren. Margo has been working at CSJ for more than 28 years now, where she oversees the creation of 35 different wines! Once again the wines were paired with food prepared by Club Chefs Giana and Kelly (featured in the photo).
Larry Williams, CSJ Director of Hospitality, enthralled the audience with his description of how to smell and taste wine, as well as using a map to explain the various Sonoma County appellations for each featured wine. We started with a Fume Blanc (sauvignon blanc) from Russian River; then moved to a Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris from Carneros.
Next we did the dueling Chardonnay taste-off with the big, buttery, oak-spiced chardonnay from Durell Ranch in Carneros winning out over the leaner non-ML chardonnay from the Robert Young Vineyard in Alexander Valley. We concluded with the second favorite of the night, the 2008 Ch. St. Jean Gewürztraminer ($15), which was an off-dry, fragrant wine filled with lychee and apricot fruit notes. For more information on CSJ’s wines or to visit their beautiful winery, see http://www.chateaustjean.com/.
Food Pairing Magic
Our VP of Food & Wine Pairing, Giana Fugazi, had some help in the kitchen this week from Kelly Striving, our VP of Public Relations & Social Media. Captivated by the all white wine theme, they created an enchanting menu. The fume blanc and pinot blanc were paired with a tossed Caesar salad. The chardonnays were highlighted by a Lemon Chicken Cream Alfredo Lasagna – which was to die for! The chardonnays emphasized the lemon and butter of the rich dish, and elevated both food and wine to new levels. The pinot gris and gewürztraminer were matched with Lemoncello Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Cream Cheese Frosting. The acid in both of these wines brought out the lemon in the dessert and created an exciting spark of excitement on the palate. Giani has promised to send the recipes soon, so we can post them on this blog.