There are times when you are having dinner at home, but nothing really fancy, though with my Bride she does try to make everything special. We just finished the season of Lent and in this house, it means that we are having fish on Friday and somedays it may just be a traditional serving of Fish and Chips. Those are the days that one would expect one of our “go-to” wines, but every now and then, one has to shake up the moment and grab something unexpected and that is the joy of a cellar.
One of the nights we enjoyed a bottle of Bernardus Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands, Sierra Mar Vineyard 2014. This wine immediately brought a smile to me, as we had actually visited Bernardus Winery on one of our trips to Carmel-by-the-Sea. The winery is located in the Carmel Valley and besides the winery, there is also Bernardus Lodge and Spa, and a spectacular restaurant on the grounds called Marinus; where we dined there after a tour of the grounds and a wine tasting. Sierra Mar Vineyard is a new vineyard on a hilltop location in the southern end of Santa Lucia Highlands, and so far, I have not experienced a bad bottle of wine from the Santa Lucia Highlands. This particular wine is made from three clones of Chardonnay and the grapes are all hand-picked and sorted at harvest. There were three-hundred-fifty cases made of this wine and the wine was estimated to having an aging potential of five to six years and this one was an eight-year-old, and it was excellent. The wine showed as a golden hue with notes of white fruit and vanilla. The fruit was still quite evident, with good acidity and a medium length finish of terroir that is always a hallmark of the Santa Lucia Highlands.
Another evening we also went away from the norm and had a bottle of Le G de Chateau Guiraud Bordeaux Blanc Sec 2018. Chateau Guiraud is in the 1855 Classification of Sauternes and Barsac and was originally known as the Noble House of Bayle, until it was bought by Pierre Guiraud in 1766 and continued for many generations until it was bought by a group of French winemakers in 2006. In the old days many of the chateaus of Sauternes and Barsac made a dry white for their own consumption and for some of their friends, but the world has discovered these little treasures. While most Bordeaux Blanc Sec wines are predominately Sauvignon Blanc, Le G de Chateau Guiraud is fifty/fifty of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The fruit is manually harvested using small baskets and fermentation is for about three weeks. Eighty percent of the wine is aged in the barrels from the last vintage of Chateau Guiraud and twenty percent is done in Stainless Steel. The average aging in the barrels is seven months with regular stirring of the lees. This is a very lush and full-bodied white wine with a delicate gold tinge, a very refreshing wine that leaves one chewing the wine to appreciate the suppleness of the fruit and the terroir that lingers and beckons for another taste.