One of my favorite people had a birthday this weekend. Normally, that means I bring the best wine I have (and a few bottles) to celebrate. I might have stashed a few in the car for “Just in case”.
I had conspired with my friend to bring this new boxed wine I was dying to try. I put it in a decanter to hide the “boxed wine factor” to which I would have snubbed my nose at if I didn’t know! The funniest part was the decanter made the impression that this was an expensive wine, drawing more people to it. Like moths to a flame.
Getting to the birthday shindig always involves the usually antics, tears, conjoling and bribery. Frankly, I’m OK with that. My four year son has suddenly learned the art of Flattery. He looks at me “Mom, I want to come to Miss Mary’s house.”, then suddenly gives me fifty kisses and hugs. Then tells me how much he loves me, and “I’m the best”. Man, he is GOOD. I waiver for a moment, kiss him back and say NO. I have high heels on for the first time in ages, I am going out without the kids!
Back to the party.. There were a few victims whom I was dying to try this wine out on. A fellow wine connoisseur, who knows and loves similar wines. I hover, chat and ask him to try this wine I brought. He is pretty brilliant, he knew. BUT he LOVED the wine. He took the name down and promised to try some more. NOT ONE person figured it out. I heard, “smooth, crisp, lovely, nice, and perfect”. I smiled. I LOVE this stuff. The boxed wine I had on hand was a Lieb Cellars, white blend. It is 100% Chardonnay with no oak. It’s FOUR bottles in a box, people? FOUR Bottles. I’m assuming the white blend changes every year with whatever white grapes they want to blend.
Chardonnay from California is popular, and most people can guess one within seconds, due to the taste of Oak and butter. Basically, most Chardonnay’s are fermented in stainless steel and moved to Oak Barrels to age. The secondary fermentation which Chardonnay’s generally undergo changes the malic harsh acid into softer lactic acid, giving it the taste of butter. (Malo-lactic fermentation)
The other BIG Chardonnay is from France (aka Cote D’or). French Chardonnay starts with a steely, crisp Chablis to the ultra-amazing and expensive Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, and Chassagne-Montrachet. The biggest difference between these two countries is really soil, climate and production. California tends to be hotter, which makes the wine a little more fruit forward, it is also usually put in American Oak, which if you can believe it gives a different taste than French Oak, the latter being more expensive.
Back to the box wine, which is a Chardonnay grape, but not put through the usual production of oak and Malo-lactic fermentation. So the wine tastes like a Chardonnay but without the butter and oak taste, which some people might prefer.
This is definitely a party in a box wine. Did I say 4 bottles in the box? It also will stay fresh for 3-4 weeks after opening.
Lieb Cellars, Bridge Lane Chardonnay 40.00