Monday, May 17, 2010

Wine Corner Review #60: Mirassou Chardonnay

Question: What's America's oldest winemaking family? Gallo, you say? No, I'll give you a hint, it starts with an M. Ah, Mondavi, you reply. Wrong again, it's Mirassou, the California clan that has been crafting excellent yet affordable wines since 1854. Recently, my wife and I were guests at a superb dinner at Stephan Pyles Restaurant, where we had a delightful chat with sixth-generation winemaker David Mirassou. During our discourse, we bemoaned the fact that too many affordable chardonnays were overly oaky, thus tasting so much of tree that all the subtle flavors were lost. Affable David put our fears at ease: his chardonnay, he said, just contained a touch of oak, and he promised that we would enjoy a balance of flavors. Such proved to be the case, so without further ado, I invite you to try a glass or three of Mirassou Chardonnay.

The robe of the Mirassou Chardonnay is misted gold flecked with wheat. Nice apricot and vanilla on the nose. Swirl it around in your mouth and let the soft flavors of nectarines, vanilla, and citrus play across your palate, finishing with toast points and, yes, just a slight whisper of oak. At Stephan Pyles lovely dinner, this chard was paired with butter poached lobster with corn milk - green chile custard, harts of palm and black garlic cream. Very successful, but trust me, it will work just as well with plain old mac and cheese. Website is, where you will learn about the family's history, among other things. Learn about America's first family of winemaking soon, and remember: