Revisiting Chardonnay: A Journey Beyond First Impressions

The first time I tried Chardonnay, it was a cheap bottle of something oaked from a small vineyard in central New York where I was working at the time. A nice green spot. It was a good place to sit, though the wine wasn’t quite as good as the view. The yard, sprawling to the vines, was beautiful; the wine was not. This turned me off of Chardonnay for more than a while, unfortunately. A few years later, working at a bank, I was told the average person makes seven assumptions in the first seven seconds of meeting someone new. A somewhat unbelievable lesson on first impressions. I’ve never believed in them, and thinking back to that first glass of slightly warm Chardonnay proves to me that they are mostly crude and worthless, if not selfishly arrogant. A first impression is an assumption, and the more you assume, the worse off you are. How can you judge a person from the first sentence that leaks from their mouth? How can you judge Chardonnay from a single warm glass of it? You can, but only if you are foolish. In people, there is always a redeeming quality in even the most savage of characters. In varietals, there is terroir. There is a different expression, a uniqueness to each, and a depth that can dance on each palate. There is Chablis, there is Burgundy, there are those from California and others across the sea from Australia and Italy. Jean-Marc Brocard, Patz & Hall, and Frank Family Vineyards come to mind as a few good examples of what can be done with this wonderful grape (all available here at Superior Liquor). There is apple, there is pear, there is melon and jungle fruit, there is butter, there is cream. There is spice and a richness and depth when oaked but a simple crispness without. There is variety, so much so that I would say it is safe to say you should be wary of anyone who says simply, “I do not like Chardonnay.” If you’ve been offended by a bottle of Chardonnay in the past, come on down to Superior Liquor and try a different style. You might be pleasantly surprised.


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