Look for very ripe aromas of lightly grilled pineapple, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and an intriguing beeswax component. Lemon custard, fresh pineapple and toasted hazelnut lead the charge on the palate, with more subtle notes of lemon thyme, marjoram and allspice adding complexity. But what really separates this wine from other full-bodied Chardonnays is that the richness and viscosity are seamlessly balanced by bright acidity and a palate cleansing dustiness. This not only makes the Dierberg Chardonnay enjoyable to drink on its own, but also greatly enhances its ability to accompany a broad array of foods.
Grilled pineapple, lemon custard, apple skins, lemon juice and thyme.
Dierberg's estate vineyard exemplifies the California Central Coast's cool-climate terroir. Planted in 1997, the 160-acre site lies outside the town of Santa Maria, just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Tucked into the southern end of the Santa Maria Valley, it is graced with gentle hillside slopes, sandy loam soils, western exposures and cool afternoon breezes. The environment supports a long, gentle ripening, which encourages greater complexity, structure and intensity--the hallmark of great Chardonnay. Owners Jim and Mary Dierberg are not newcomers to wine. In 1974, inspired by many earlier trips to Europe, they purchased the historic Hermannhof winery, located in their home state of Missouri. Wishing to expand their interests, they looked to California where they later purchased Star Lane and the properties that now comprise Dierberg Estate. Now, this passionate and energetic couple has just completed their "greatest winemaking tool:" a brilliantly functional, three-story, gravity-flow winery that features 26,000 square feet of caves and tunnels carved into a sandstone hillside.
Dishes with some richness help to underscore this wine's fuller body and creamy mouthfeel. In addition to a wide array of richer seafood, shellfish and poultry dishes, it pairs nicely with lighter red meats such as veal and pork. Simply prepared dishes that don't force the wine to compete with complex ingredients are especially good matches. You can't go wrong with my Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon Salt which is a classic pairing. The combination of poultry, butter and tarragon gives this wine a forum to fully reveal its rich yet understated nature.
"Hide our ignorance as we will, an evening of wine soon reveals it." ~ Heraclitus