It’s tempting sometimes to describe a wine more by what it isn’t than what it is, a pitfall that I often stumble into. It might be dismayingly unhelpful to the makers of wine, for one, and it’s a kind of backhanded smear on the other, nameless wines, entirely undeserved.
I could say, for instance, that this isn’t a big, butterball Chardonnay, but that would be a cut on that particular style, setting up the reader and I in a kind of cozy camaraderie that I cannot presume that we share: “We don’t like that big old, butterball style of California Chardonnay, do we? For you and I, my friend, with our sophisticated palates, only the finest, subtle and restrained Sonoma Coast Chardonnay will do!”
That being said, the 2009 Fogdog Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($35) is a restrained, elegant cool-climate Chardonnay that will surely please the sophisticated palate. While of the typical elements of barrel-fermented Chard are here, what makes it great is not that they’re just meted out in smaller doses; their character is transformed.
For instance, there’s a distinct aroma of fresh oak, but it’s not planky; the aroma of toasted oak barrels comes across as lightly burned pie crust – lemon meringue, I believe. Instead of buttery aromas, it’s custard and Eureka lemon; the apple notes trend toward cider and late-disgorged sparkling; and the acidity is never sharp, but crisp, lithe, ushering the silky-sweet sensation briskly to the back of the palate, leaving only a light caramel aftertaste, and the taster ready for more.
Freestone has done it again. That being said, it might even be better integrated after a year of cellaring.
Rosemary and Lemon Shrimp
Recipe by Stephen Pavy
Easily doubled. Shrimp can be marinated ahead of time, but needs to be made “to order”. Chill shrimp in marinade at least one hour and up to three hours.
Marinate to taste:
16 Jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, leaving tails intact
1 bottle Fogdog Chardonnay
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil (like Joseph Phelps Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/4 cup Fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. Fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp. Smooth Dijon-style mustard
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the olive oil and fresh lemon juice and whisk together. Add in fresh rosemary and mustard and whisk until combined. Add salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.
The marinade should have a nice ‘kick’ to it. Add in at least 1 cup Joseph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc (or Fogdog Chardonnay) and whisk again. You may make the marinade up to one day ahead and keep in the refrigerator.
When you get ready to add the shrimp (already peeled, deveined, with tails on), whisk the marinade again if it has started to separate. Once the shrimp has been added, add enough Sauvignon Blanc (or Fogdog Chardonnay) to make sure shrimp are covered. You should marinade shrimp at least one hour and up to three hours before grilling.
Once you are ready to grill, skewer marinated shrimp on stalks of fresh rosemary, or use barbeque skewers. (Those of us in California can usually find an abundance of fresh rosemary at this time of year. Strip off branches and leaves and use the fresh stalks! If the stalks are a bit dry, soak them in water to prevent burning.)
Grill for 3 to 5 minutes, turning at least once Brush on additional marinade while grilling if you like.
Take off skewer and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice from wedges.