I’m in Germany at the moment on a press trip that, after only a few days of tackling Riesling, has left my teeth feeling like they’re constantly being electrocuted. When occasionally stepping away from ‘work’ (which it is, but I recognize that tastings and winery visits aren’t exactly breaking rocks all day under a hot sun), it’s been a treat to dive into typical German fare. It’s the sausages, mustard, sauerkraut and pretzels that have been rockin’ my world, but my own jury’s still out on Riesling or the occasional Pinot Noir being the best pairing for those things.
I got to thinking, and then started playing around with some Chardonnays that are in the market here. The styles I found that worked were akin to some of my hometown favourites.
When you have sausage, whether it’s Bratwurst or something bold and spicier, there’s a lot of flavour going on, and generally a good amount of fatty goodness. Yes, you need a big and fairly juicy wine to handle all of that, but you also need good acidity and (ideally) crisp minerality to cut through the richness. And if you have mustard or sauerkraut alongside, with their lofty heights of acidity, saltiness and heat, you best be showing some big, up-front fruit to combat that business.
So I propose to you, in these scenarios, a couple Canadian bright and lively, yet textured and ready-to-work Chardonnays.
If you look at CedarCreek’s 2012 Block 5 version, you’ve got bright lemon fruit, but showing with the depth and richness of lemon pound cake, highlighted by lime zest a good clang of minerality.
Painted Rock’s Estate Chardonnay amps up the fruit and the wood, so if you like a Chardonnay that makes its presence known, this’ll be your jam. The best part is it’s all in perfect balance, a boatload of tropical fruit framed by sturdy oak, with acidity keeping everything bright.
It’s still barbecue season, so fire up those barbecues and crack open some Canadian Chardonnay!
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. He’s not half as fancy/boring as that sounds. He Tweets and Instagrams @KurtisKolt.