Week 9 of 52. Holiday Rituals & “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!”

My husband and I have come to realize that we need rituals in our lives. We don’t do the normal holiday thing and so it used to be lunch at Chez Panisse. Then we moved to dinner at Chapeau and so for the last 4 years we have dined at this well-known and delightful eating establishment in San Francisco. On this recent occasion my husband started with the salmon “three ways.” I suggested that he pair the dish with Chardonnay. They had by the glass a wine from Macon, that part of Burgundy known for its good value white wines from Chardonnay grapes. This triggered a rant-in-good-jest about the oaky buttery style of Chardonnay in the U.S. “How could they take a wine through malolactic fermentation so that it goes all the way to the lactic side and then put that creamy wine into 100% new oak barrels? For me the “super cream in a fresh wood barrel” taste is totally out of balance.

Balance is what I seek and copious butter and oak together makes me kind of queasy. It is just my preference. No offense to you who like that style. Of course, those who like that style might abhor some of the wines I drink. My first point is that it is good to know what you like/don’t like. My purpose in life is to help people find wine that brings them joy – no judgment in this “no pretense” zone.

My second point is never stopping there, use what you like as a baseline but keep exploring. Isn’t it nice to be surprised? One of the best things about loving wine is that you never know where your palate will take you next.

Hope the day after Christmas has you basking in the glow of Santa’s wonderful surprises from yesterday. Santa brought me a bottle of Domaine Roland Lavantureux 2012 Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir, which I plan to drink in 2020!


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