As of late, I have been diving into François Chartier’s book “Taste Buds and Molecules – The art and science of food and wine”. It’s pretty fascinating. It breaks down scientifically why some pairings are so wonderful, and inspires new creations.
When I was looking for a pairing for a beautiful Chardonnay we received as a sample from Utopia and Oregon’s Willamette Valley, I went to the book to find the aromas and flavors that would pair. I knew from the wineries tasting notes, that I was likely to find “notes of pineapple, banana, citrus, and white peach”. I cross-referenced this with the notes in the book on Chardonnay as well as my knowledge of what I knew to be good Chardonnay pairings.
This 2017 Utopia Chardonnay from the Ribbon Ridge AVA, was a whole cluster press. It aged in multiple vessels, 20% new French oak, 40% neutral French oak, and 40% stainless steel. So…do look at this as an oak-aged Chardonnay or a stainless steel chardonnay? Stainless steel would have more anise notes, whereas barrel-aged leans to spice.
I narrowed my list a bit and came up with these potential elements to include:
Yellow apples, saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, citrus fruit, dried lavender, dried rosebuds, eucalyptus, fresh figs, ginger, juniper berries, leeks, mint, paprika, parsley, pink grapefruit, quince, rosemary, rosewater, sage, spruce beer, basil.