California · France · Wine

Forget That Oaky Stuff, Chardonnay Can Be Très Elegant

IMG_7465For many of us who are obsessed by wine, there was an “aha moment,” or a “gateway wine,” that led us from darkness and innocence toward the neverending, cork-popping, glass-swirling path of wine study.

That wine, for me, was a beautiful pét-nat called Pièges-à-Filles — which translates to “girl trap.” 

You see, after working a long shift at Reynard, the restaurant where I was first introduced to elegant, natural wines (holla Lee Campbell), the only thing that enlivened my spirits — crushed from rude customers, non-tipping foreigners, or perhaps a line cook’s snappish comments — was a glass of this bubbly, refreshing juice. OK, maybe two glasses. I would look forward to it all morning and afternoon, and finally relish it at the bar (holla Andrew Tarlow for the two-shift-drink employee perk) before going home to write, or most days to my second job (holla New York City and Brooklyn rent).

Chardonnay is the base of that delicious white wine, though I didn’t even realize it when I was gulping it down every day. Since then, I’ve traveled to Burgundy, including Chablis, and to Napa, and developed a true affection for Chardonnay. Which is NOT a “sweet,” oaky wine if you get a good bottle. Bad Chardonnay sucks, don’t bother with it. Grab one of the ethereal bottles that I recommend in my Eater article, which looks at how winemaking styles and climate impact Chardonnay.

Read the article here. Oh, and watch out for that girl trap wine, you might wind up becoming a wine journalist.

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