Bodegas Castillo de Monjardín El Cerezo Unoaked Chardonnay 2014
This wine is a perfect accompaniment for roast pork tenderloin, chicken saltimbocca, or crab-stuffed flounder.
Tucked in the foothills of the Pyrenées along the French Border in Navarra, Castillo de Monjardín’s estate was originally a way station along the famous pilgrimage route from Paris to Santiago de Campostella. Its proximity and historic cultural links to France provide a winemaking tradition based on Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, distinct from the rest of Spain. Monjardín does, however, make good use of the Garnacha that has made Navarra famous for its fresh, fruity rosés and lush, fruit-forward reds. Castillo de Monjardín sits in the northwest corner of Navarra in the foothills of the Pyrenées, not far from the French border. Monjardín’s 300+ acres of vineyard lie on sunny slopes at an average altitude of 1,800 feet and are cooled by the Cierzo wind from the mountains. Monjardín’s unique microclimate and the winemaking skills of proprietor-winemaker Victor Villar yield wines of singularly intense aroma, full flavor and firm structure. All wines are single-vineyard bottlings, fermented in stainless steel and aged in French oak.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
Tasting Notes for Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a dry, white wine. When Chardonnay grapes are planted on cool sites, the resulting wine's flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Perfect Food Pairings for Chardonnay
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Sommelier Secrets for Chardonnay
Since the 1980s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy this lighter style.