White Wine Club
White Wine Club - November
This month we present a wine from one of the iconic California Chardonnay vineyards, made by one of the world's best Chardonnay winemakers - Hudson Estate Chardonnay.
Lee Hudson is a grower in the Carneros, and grows Chardonnay and Syrah grapes. He sells these grapes to some of the finest wineries around - Kistler, Ramey, and Kongsgaard to name a few - who sell their wines for upwards of $125 per bottle (!).
The winemaking team is a collaboration between three people, Lee Hudson, owner and operator, John Kongsgaard, consulting winemaker and Christopher Vandendriessche, winemaker. We all firmly believe that the wine is made in the vineyard, but the care and the attention to detail cannot stop there. Every effort possible is taken between the vineyard and you to make wines without compromise.
2009 notes from the winery:
From Lee Hudson: As a wine grower, the 2009 vintage was everything I could hope for from budbreak and harvest. The year unfolded as and when it should; all we had to do was keep up. A large storm passed through mid-October, but we managed to escape unscathed. As growers, our primary job is to read the vineyard and adjust our management approach based on current and forecasted conditions. The 2009 vintage seemed to say “It’s all under control” and required minimal intervention. The resulting fruit quality was superb with ideal flavors and aromas. Looking back it almost seems like it was easy.
From Winemaker Christopher Vandendriessche: Ideal ripening conditions in 2009 led to a very ripe initial harvest of our first blocks of Chardonnay. When we tested the fruit, we found the sugar levels were higher and the acid levels were a bit lower than usual for the lively style that we like in the Hudson Chardonnay. So we picked subsequent blocks a bit earlier than usual to create the ideal balance in the finished wine. We gently pressed the whole clusters for a short period of time, to keep as much natural acid as possible in the wine. This “vintage-tailored” refinement of our winemaking techniques made for a very focused and balanced wine in barrel. The wine fermented slowly in French oak barrels (90% new) with the wild yeasts finishing fermentation early in the new year and malolactic following soon after. This earlier development led to an earlier than usual bottling. As with previous vintages, we stirred the barrels twice a month for added flavor and to allow for extended aging with no added sulfur. The resulting wine has an unusually interesting balance of flavors, showing a great intensity of sunny fruit and floral flavors as well as bright natural acidity, minerality and a very long finish.
From Paul Roberts, Master Sommelier: The 2009 Hudson Vineyards Chardonnay is a golden hued wine, with beautiful high-toned notes of lemon oil and tarragon. Medium to full bodied, this wine has a remarkably long finish that is framed by refreshing acidity and white stones. Expect bright flavors of harvest apples, toast and minerals on the tightened finish. For an ideal meal pairing, consider roasted lobster with coral oil and tarragon.
Recipe: Lobster Corn Chowder - server 4-6
2 live lobsters, each 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb.
1 Tbs. EV olive oil
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
3 ears of corn, kernels removed, kernels
and corncobs reserved
3 bacon slices, diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 cups heavy cream
2 Yukon Gold or other potatoes, cut
into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the lobsters one at a time, headfirst. Cover and cook until the lobsters are red, about 7 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to a large bowl filled with ice water and let cool completely. Remove the meat from the claws, knuckles and tails. Reserve the shells and bodies and refrigerate the meat until ready to use.
In a large pot over high heat, warm the oil. Add the reserved lobster shells and bodies and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, wine and corncobs, bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes.
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy and browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery and corn kernels and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain the lobster-corn stock into the Dutch oven, add the cream and bring to a simmer. Stir in the potatoes, return to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Stir in the lobster meat, salt, pepper, thyme and chives. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lobster is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Ladle the chowder into warmed soup bowls and serve immediately.