Lady Liberty’s Chardonnay
Originally published in The Heart of Hillsborough, July 2018
Hillsborough’s role in the American Revolution is well-known. A walk through downtown not only provides fascinating and poignant markers where related events occurred and persons lived, but allows for history to come alive. Indeed, the celebration of America’s independence in our town is special and as we gather to commemorate the holiday, I thought it appropriate to find a complimentary wine that is pleasing, affordable, and reflects a patriotic ethos.
Enjoying a chilled glass of wine on this warm summer holiday fits well with the American tradition of outdoor gatherings. Whether it is sharing a meal or taking in the evening’s fireworks, wine certainly plays its part as refreshment. One which is often served and is popular throughout the United States is chardonnay. While there are as many opinions about it as brand choices, California-based winery, The Federalist, has done something unique with its chardonnay and other varietals by pairing them each with a Founding Father, revered patriot, or ideal upon which the United States was built.
For their chardonnay, The Federalist’s wine makers chose to pair it with liberty, which was hard fought for and won during the American Revolution. The wine, they note, is not only bold, like the Founding Fathers who were so vigorously passionate about achieving it, but like a beacon is bright and “stands tall.” And, what symbol better to feature on the bottle than the Statue of Liberty? After learning this story, I was intrigued and decided to taste and share my experience in time for Independence Day.
The Federalist 2016 Mendocino County Chardonnay (priced at $16.99 and available at Total Wine in Durham) is neither ordinary or timid! From the moment I poured it, the deep golden hue of the wine coupled with a bouquet of rich aromas including lemon zest, buttercream, and yellow apple held my attention. Tasting, the acidity and full-bodied texture provided a wonderful introduction to layered flavors of lemon, cinnamon, cardamom, and buttercream. This continued into a smooth, pleasant finish with hints of toasted oak and ripened pear. What surprised me most about this bold chardonnay was the balance of flavors and how none were so dominant that they precluded others from being enjoyed; making for a satisfying experience.
While this chardonnay can be appreciated on its own, it will pair extremely well with salads, grilled chicken, and seafood. For the best experience, after chilling the wine, let it sit for a few minutes on the counter which will help to release its full array of flavors. This will make for a special treat, complimenting a memorable Fourth of July holiday.