Since April is chardonel month, now is a great time to learn about this hybrid grape. A cross between chardonnay and seyval blanc, it was created in 1953 at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Chardonel was cultivated to produce a white wine grape that has similar characteristics to chardonnay but is more resistant to cold and able to flourish in areas with significant weather shifts. Because of that, chardonel thrives in Missouri and certain other states. The following oaked chardonel from Missouri is compared with an oaked chardonnay from California. Both would go well with fish, chicken and cream sauces.
Sugar Creek Winery 2017 Chardonel, Missouri
Bought • Friar Tuck Beverage, 9053 Watson Road, in April for $14.99
Description • Estate grown and bottled, this chardonel comes from the Sugar Creek Winery in Defiance. Formerly the Boone Country Winery, Ken and Becky Miller purchased the property in 1994. Their son, Chris Lorch, who spent years working in Napa Valley, is the winemaker. This medium-bodied white exhibits typical chardonnay characteristics including a rich mouthfeel and green apple and citrus flavors. Fermented and aged in French oak barrels, it’s assertively oaky and ends with a slight dark toast finish.
Encore Heritage Vineyards 2017 Chardonnay, Monterey County, California
Bought • Friar Tuck Beverage, 9053 Watson Road, in April for $9.99
Description • This chardonnay was vinted and bottled by Encore Heritage Vineyards, which produces wines made from grapes that are sourced from vineyards located throughout California. Although it’s somewhat high in alcohol at 14.5%, it’s a clean and well-balanced chardonnay that tastes of stone and tropical fruit, refreshing citrus, vanilla and a touch of bakery spice. Although this creamy, medium-bodied white also has some wood aging, the oak flavor is more subdued than that in the chardonel.