September 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Sunset Hills Vineyard's Chardonnay at Harvest

Visit any restaurant, and you’re bound to see Chardonnay on the wine list. Chardonnay is easily one of the most popular white wines in American, most notably known for its role in the “Judgment of Paris,” where California beat France for the first time in a blind taste off in 1976.

The “Judgment of Paris” put the U.S. on the map for winemaking; but great American Chardonnays don’t just come from California, they come from Virginia, too. In fact, Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape in VA.

Chardonnay is versatile and grows well in many different climates. Its grapes are small and green-skinned, and get most of their flavor for the soil they’re grown in (the “terrior”) and the winemaker (in our case, Nate Walsh).

Depending on the winemaking style used to produce Chardonnay, it can be full of tropical, citrus and stone fruit flavors or lean more toward toast, butter and vanilla notes. Because of the variation in flavors, Chardonnay pairs well with a variety of food, but is typically paired with white meat and fish dishes.

We make both “oaked” (aged in oak barrels) and “unoaked” (aged in stainless steel tanks) Chardonnay here at Sunset Hills, and this Sunday September 12th, you’re invited to learn all about our Chardonnay winemaking process at the first of our Vine to Wine Harvest Tasting Series. You’ll taste hand picked grapes, freshly-pressed juice, partially fermenting wine and a vertical tasting of our past three Chardonnay vintages.

Click here for tickets and more information.


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