I covered the Sauvignon Blancs from the Wines of Chile tasting last week, but I thought it was time to give Chardonnay its due. I enjoyed pairing Chilean Chardonnay with salmon; the richness of the fish went well with the oakiness of the three Chardonnays.
While the Santa Rita and the Concha y Toro had a little too much oak influence for my taste, giving them a kind of toasty finish, they distinguished themselves by having good acidity and not being too sweet. A lot Chardonnays you will encounter in a typical grocery store (the usual suspects) compound oakiness by making their wines slightly cloying and with no refreshing, lemony acidity on the finish. So for Chardonnays under $20, these showed well.
The De Martino was my favorite. It was more austere, with less oaky presence. And it was the least expensive of the three. (It’s always a joyous occasion when my favorite wine at a tasting is also the cheapest.) There was good discussion during the tasting, conducted online and linking bloggers from all over the country to a sommelier in New York City and winemakers in Chile, regarding oak in white wine. Some people like no oak whatsoever, but the consensus was that when it is used judiciously and unobtrusively, that it can add texture and richness to a wine.
While I had grilled salmon with couscous and carrots with the Chardonnays, I can’t help thinking that with their modest price they would be great with more casual preparations, like the salmon burger pictured.
These wines were provided as samples by Wines of Chile. Salmon photo courtesy ecokarenlee.