Nostalgia in a Wine and Food Pairing with Chardonnay

Chicken Adobo and a Scarborough Yellow Label Chardonnay

Not all things go as planned. We made chicken adobo, a dish from the Philipines, the day before and had planned to pair it with a Chardonnay. Chicken adobo is best enjoyed on the 2nd day, when the flavors have melded together. It’s a pretty simple dish with chicken thighs, onions, garlic and the adobo sauce which is a blend of vinegar and soy. After simmering to cook the chicken, we put this in the fridge to let all the flavors incorporate.

Chicken Adobe bowls

I came across a Chardonnay that we picked up from Temecula. I knew it had been a while and I figured we had better drink it up. There was a bit of a nostalgic feel to this pairing. Growing up in Southern California, Temecula and the San Diego area often feel like home to me. And, our Filipino neighbor taught my mother many recipes when we lived in Hawaii and I was a child. I grew up with Filipino dishes being a regular part of our diet.

We reheated the chicken, cooked up the vermicelli rice noodles and prepped the carrots, mint and cilantro to finish off this Sun Basket dish.

Chicken Adobo with vermicelli rice noodles, mint, cilantro and carrots
Chicken Adobo with vermicelli rice noodles, mint, cilantro and carrots

How old is that Chardonnay?

We took a couple shots with the bottle, after the dish was plated. I was surprised to see it was a 2004, which was a little older than I expected. When I went to open the bottle, the cork broke. I tried again (sadly without a butler’s friend) and found it was stuck. Finally, I managed to drill down through the cork and make a hole. The liquid that came out was deep yellow. This wine was obviously aged and slightly oxidized. Not great, but quite honestly, not horrible. Nonetheless, it was not going to pair with this dish.

Michael headed off to look for another bottle and came back with a #travelinabottle trip to Australia’s Hunter Valley.

Let’s #travelinabottle to the Hunter Valley instead!

Scarborough 2014 Yellow label Chardonnay from the Hunter Valley NSW Australia
Scarborough 2014 Yellow label Chardonnay from the Hunter Valley

The 2014 Yellow Label Chardonnay from Scarborough Wine was perfect for this pairing. Scarborough Wine is located on the west side of the Hunter Valley, against the Brokenback range. They are well known here for their Chardonnays. We visited in October and interviewed Jerome Scarborough. After the interview, we tasted through their Chardonnays and left with this bottle from 2014.

Scarborough Wine Co.

The cellar door at Gillards Rd is the old family home. Jerome’s mother’s dream home. It’s beautiful and warm and is a perfect tasting room. Jerome told us about turning the house into a tasting room, as he looked out the back windows onto the lawn that he played on as a child.

Scarborough Wine Company Hunter Valley Australia
Scarborough Wine Company Hunter Valley Australia

Jerome’s father Ian, bought the vineyard and property in the late 70’s. In the 80’s he ripped out the Shiraz and put in Chardonnay. In 1987, they made their first vintage of Chardonnay in the garage on the Gillards Rd property. While they continue to make other varieties and blends, the Yellow label Chardonnay remains their flagship wine.

Chicken Adobo with an Aussie Chardy!

This 2014 vintage is a richer expression of Chardonnay, but it is not overly oaky or buttery. The wine has citrus and pith, white peach and some subtle tropical notes all rounded with a bit of nuttiness. I found this wine to be balanced. It was lovely with the chicken and made the mint pop! We enjoyed it with the food and later, on it’s own.

Chicken Adobo and Scarborough Chardonnay
Chicken Adobo and Scarborough Chardonnay

Where to next?

Hmmm….maybe Spain or Italy? Join us for our next trip as we #travelinabottle.

Where are you traveling to virtually these days? Are you daydreaming of a vacation. We’d love to hear about your favorite wine regions or the regions you would like to visit! Share with us in the comments below!

More info

For more information on Scarborough Wine and the Hunter Valley, try some of these links!

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Robin Renken CSW (photo credit RuBen Permel)

Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.

When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.

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