Perhaps Benjamin Franklin surmised it best in his quote, “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” Well happy I am! As noted in previous posts, I tend to be a bit of a … “wino” who blissfully managed to sip and savor some truly remarkable vintages this past year. Culling my favorites down to a mere handful was no small task, but I eventually achieved success in completing my 2014 Top Five (in no particular order):
2010 Chester’s Anvil Chardonnay from Napa’s Pott Wines. Opulent flavors of tropical fruit, lemon and oak marry to make this one big chardonnay. When dining al fresco at Del Mar’s Sea & Smoke American Brasserie on an order of Pacific Mussels steeped in garlic, ginger, chiles and cilantro, Chesters Anvil simply gets tastier with every sip!
2011 Broken Road Chardonnay from Sonoma’s Stonestreet Winery. Big citrus flavors of meyer lemon and orange with nuances of toasty oak give this vintage a rich, creamy flavor and delightful finish. This bottle was thoroughly enjoyed with an entrée of Greek style Mediterranean Sea Bass at Harry’s Bar & American Grill located in La Jolla’s Golden Triangle. (Stonestreet’s 2011 Bear Point Chardonnay is comparably delicious with lush lemon and apricot flavors balancing the subtle minerality.)
2007 Alexander Valley Chardonnay from Robert Young Estate Winery. Think deep flavors of apple and butterscotch with a smooth oaky presence. This opulent chardonnay characterized by bold flavors and a lingering finish is beautifully paired with Mussels “a la Moutarde” simmering in a rich dijon-creme fraiche-wine sauce and served with a side of pomme frites at Bleu Boheme located in San Diego’s Kensington District.
2008 Marchiori Vineyard Bramare Chardonnay from Argentina’s Vina Cobos Wines. Lush fruit flavors of pear and lemon balanced with light oak and nuances of caramel and vanilla blend for a remarkably harmonious vintage. The folks at The Fishery in Pacific Beach are always happy create an entrée of uber-fresh ceviche tostadas upon request, and the Bramare Chardonnay is a brilliant companion for the citrus infused scallops and piquant chiles piled atop those crisp tostadas!
2012 Sexual Chocolate from Napa’s SLO Down Wines. Perhaps you’re a bit skeptical and thinking this is one “cheesy” moniker for a vintage. Whatever … the fun-loving boys at SLO Down Wines nailed it with big, jammy flavors of black cherry, blackberry, spice and a delightfully chocolate finish. This budget friendly varietal blend of syrah, zinfandel and petite sirah was a fabulous mate for the grass-fed filet and steakhouse wedge salad I recently devoured at The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge in San Diego’s Mission Hills District.
Yes, God clearly loves us and loves to see us happy, so on that note I intend to sample many more remarkable vintages as 2015 speeds by. I’ll be keeping you posted on my vino adventures, so stay tuned my friends! Your recommendations are ALWAYS welcomed, so feel free to reply with a few of your favorite vintages and the memorable meals that accompanied them.