Taste With Elegance: Emblem Chardonnay
One of the first things you’ll notice with skillfully created Chardonnays like Michael Mondavi’s “Emblem”, is the pronounced presence of a tart backbone. This one tilts more toward the “Burgundian Style”, even though it is a California wine. As such, this Chardonnay is produced with a carefully controlled mix of Malolactic and normally fermented juice to make it slightly more acidic than what many of us are used to. This is what many call a “food friendly” wine.
The latest release of Michael Mondavi’s Emblem series (a 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay) is one of these, a perfect pair with a refined character. Even though it resembles the more well-known Mondavi Winery’s regular label Chardonnay in some ways, but Michael’s Emblem series moves forward to the next level.
Bring on the pears, stone fruit, and lovely apple! With a contemplative bouquet that seems dominated by pears at first, a little peach with tropical fruit quickly comes into the mix, along with the apple that marks a Chardonnay. Maybe there is a trace of Chenin Blanc in there, but who knows.
But the real food pairing capability appears on the palate. This is definitely one to swirl around in your mouth and enjoy that controlled tartness on the backbone with more apples and a trace of oak that makes a little barrel aging show though. For French style Chardonnay lovers with a tendency toward California classic, this is a must try.
Due to a limited production run, these are a little hard to find on the shelves. However, there are several online (including the winery site) sources that will quickly ship to Arizona priced between $30 and $40. There aren’t too many Chards like this, so if it is your favorite varietal, it’s worth the trouble.
We tried pairing with various seafood entrees, but there was one that really worked: Deep fried coconut shrimp with sweet and sour sauce. Why this melds in so well is a little unclear, but the combo is sumptuous.
Hold off serving until after 40-60 minutes in the fridge (45-55 degrees). As it approaches room temperature, more flavors will open up.