A Tale of 2 William Hill Chardonnay's

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A Tale of 2 Chardonnay's, William Hill. by CITYPEEK Patti Neumann


Recently, after over-indulging in red varietals, I developed what I call the “Over 40 headache.” It’s a migraine, that lasts up to sixteen hours, brought on from something, be it tannins or histamines, there are different opinions, fro  red wine varietals. That being said, I have been sipping other colored vinos and have been steadily sans mal a la tete sipping the chardonnays of the world. I know, me, the self-named "Red Wine Doll, now is known to sip Chardonnay, the grape native of France's Burgundy region, which is now grown in almost all wine-producing regions worldwide? Well, it is from Napa Valley, the most famous and prestigious wine region anywhere in the New World.


A recent standout has a name that is known on wine lists around America due to its popularity on wines-by-the-glass Lists around the USA-none other than William Hill Estate Winery's Chardonnay. This is a everyday, affordable, “familiar” wine, around $12 in your local retail shop, that is pleasing on the palette to those who like a heavily oaked wine typical in many chardonnay wines.


The 2012 Central Coast Chardonnay was made from a mix of grapes grown in the cool Carneros climate and warmer St. Helena AVAs. The juice has a ripe tree fruit and bold notes of baked apple along with hints of caramel and spices with a long, sweet bold oak finish. This wine has a silky mouth-feel, and a palate that is clearly built to accompany food, in exactly the manner in which good wine invites a meal. It will match easily with chicken, veal, pork, turkey, or seafood.


But then, I visited with my friends at Gallo Wines at the Aspen Food & Wine Festival and via my friend, Kelly Conrad, met Gina Gallo herself, alongside William’s big brother, William Hill Estate Winery, Napa Valley born in an area called the Silverado Bench of Napa. That is where my oak-laden Chardonnay barometer moved up the ladder a bit. Appears that I am not alone, this wine was a recent Silver Medal Winner at San Francisco International Wine Competition 2014. The average price/ 750 ml bottle is $20.


And, Wine Enthusiast gave it 91/100 stating, "The winemaker blended multiple vineyards into the wine, from cool places in Carneros to warmer northern areas, and the result is impeccable. You’ll find crisp acidity and minerality, along with a range of fruits, from green apples and peaches to pears and tropical fruits. Barrel fermentation and lees aging add rich notes of smoky butter and sour cream to this complex Chardonnay."


I find the price in restaurants vary by the glass from $7.50-$10 and around $29/bottle for the Central Coast label. The Napa Valley is rarely seen on East Coast wine lists.

A note about the perfect wine glass to sip your chard, I polled a few experts. Master Sommelier and creative mind behind the Darden Group's Seasons 52, George Miliotes, tells me: "I like the classic style." See example left.

Laurie Forster, aka "The Wine Coach writes, "I have Riedel Chardonnays in my cabinet...bit known to use a stemless here and there too!"


Mariam "Raz" Razavi, Wine Purveyor writes, "I love Riedel's Sommelier Burgundy wine glass, @citypeekpatti chin!"

I say, use what you like, but I like to use a glass that is rounded and where you can even dust the tip of your nose with the wine. Inhale the deep aromas. Swirl, sip and savor. Cheers.



Patti Neumann is Publisher/Founder of CITYPEEK.com and an award-winning columnist and blogger on food, wine.

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