Look at the way the light hits these tater tots! As I poured myself a glass of Gundlach Bundschu Chardonnay (the 2011 hailing from California’s Sonoma Coast), graciously sent to me as a sample by the winery, I could not help but think of Caravaggio‘s famous work, “The Calling of Saint Matthew“. Though this image did not instantly convert me to a tot-based religion, I did experience an ecstatic food and wine pairing.
Chardonnay with some oak on it, like the 2011 Gundlach Bundschu, has such an affinity with all crispy, potato-based foods, including chips (or “crisps”) and fries. Just with the latter, hold the ketchup as it will clash with your Chardonnay. (Side ketchup rant: These tots are from Blue Moon Burgers and were impeccably crisp and tasty. Though that they don’t serve Heinz ketchup there is an affront to all that is holy in sweet, tomato-based condiments.)
If you’re wondering about my relatively new-ish obsession with oak-aged Chardonnay, I have found that over the course of my wine-drinking life, the pendulum swings back-and-forth on what I enjoy to drink, style-wise. (Brian Boitano agrees with me. Just sayin’.) At one point I was savoring nothing but the lightest of white wines with searing acidity. Now? I like a little heft in the glass. The Gundlach Bundschu is not clubbed with oak; only 20% of the barrels used to age it are new. And a good chunk (20%) of the juice is fermented in stainless steel. So you have a nice balance between richness and freshness.
On my first few sips I thought the wine was a touch hot. Not temperature hot as it was well-chilled. But hot as in the alcohol poked through a bit more than I would have liked. On Day 2, however, this wine put it all together. Might just need a bit more time in the bottle. Unfortunately I did not buy more tater tots on Day 2 to compare, as I’m trying to taper my tot consumption to less than two days a week. And, even if I had any leftovers, who wants yesterday’s tots? Nobody in the world. (Update: The 2011 Gundlach Bundschu Chardonnay might have been at it’s best on Day 3. Impressively elegant and lively. My notes: RICH. GOLDEN. REFRESHING. Yes, my notes were in all caps. But not bolded. And no exclamation points. Well, maybe one)
A final note: Don’t get hung up on how to say (or spell) Gundlach Bundschu, just go forth and revel in the pleasure of its duet with tater tots.