White Wine Club
White Wine Club - February
February 17, 2012
Dear White Wine Lover:
I'm ecstatic to present for the third time one of my favorite California Chardonnays - 08 or 09 Hirsch Vineyards Chardonnay, a chardonnay made by a unique method: barrel fermentation in Glass, Oak, and Stainless Barrels.
The barrel fermentation allows for extended lees contact, bringing richness to the wine, and the glass and stainless vessels allowing the wine to retain a crisp acidity and bright fruit.
David Hirsch planted his first Chardonnay vineyard on the rocky slopes above his house on the Sonoma Coast back in 1994 on the urging of Burt Williams and Ed Selyem. The cuttings came from Joe Rochioli, and the fruit from the vineyard ended up in wines from Willams-Selyem and Kistler, among others, over the years.This wine is made from fruit from the original site, as well as another 1.4 acres planted nearby in 2004, and is fermented and aged in a combination of glass, oak, stainless and fermented in stainless and aged in oak. All of the components are then blended together and aged in mostly neutral French oak for another nine months. The resulting wine is amazingly vibrant, with a floral nose redolent of jasmine and lemon blossoms, with lemon zest aromas, it smells like a garden! On the palate, the fruit has a slight tropical edge, with pineapple flavors to complement the citrusy tang and stone fruit goodness. And like all of Hirsch's wines, it has plenty of energy from the slow ripening Sonoma Coast climate.
According to David Hirsch
"In 2005 we made a minuscule amount of chardonnay in glass containers. The result was startling: a chardonnay that put acids and a mineral mouth feel forward on the palate, with the varietal notes toward the back. Then we decided to make our chardonnay by four methods of fermentation and aging: glass, oak, and stainless steel fermentation and aging; plus aging on oak some of the wine fermented in stainless. We reserved fourteen gallons of each process prior to blending for bottling. The reserved wines were bottled by hand and are available in six packs that contain two bottles of the composite blend plus one bottle of each of the four methods. We found that blending of the four methods deepened the imprint of the site on the final wine."
"In 1994 we prepared 2.5 acres for planting on a rocky, 40% slope above my house. I was enamored with Barolo and had the crazy idea to put in nebbiolo. One night I met Burt Williams and Ed Selyem. On entering the restaurant, Burt yelled from the back, “Plant chardonnay! We will buy it.” The cuttings came from Joe Rochioli. Williams Selyem made the wine from 1997 to 2000; Kistler took the fruit through 2005.
In 2006 we released the first estate chardonnay. It received 94 points and was named one of the best 100 wines of the year by Wine and Spirits magazine. In 2002 we planted an additional 1.4 acres of chard on a sandstone hill in field 12. It produced in 2005 a minuscule first crop of 200 pounds, which we fermented and aged in glass carboys. At first the wine was so undistinguished we almost flushed it. Then after some fourteen months it showed a wonderful acidity with intense minerality and great balance. This inspired us to experiment with various production methods.
Hirsch Chardonnay is a product of four vinification processes: 1. Glass fermented and aged (138 gallons). 2. French oak fermented and aged (460 gallons). Total new oak comes to 15%. 3. Stainless steel fermented and aged (375 gallons). 4. Stainless steel fermented, aged in French oak (230 gallons)."
RECIPE: Chicken and Noodles
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices good quality bacon, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
2 pounds bonelss chicken meat (white) , cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound button mushrooms, quartered
3 ribs celery from the heart of the stalk and leafy tops, chopped
1 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, 4 to 5 sprigs
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/3 bottle Chardonnay (preferably unoaked)
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups pearl onions
1 pound extra-wide egg noodles
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
A handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes, remove with slotted spoon.
Heat a pot of water to boil for egg noodles.
While bacon crisps, scatter 1/2 cup flour on a shallow dish. Season the chopped chicken with salt and pepper and add to flour. Toss the chicken to coat and shake off the excess as you add it to the hot bacon drippings. Lightly brown the chicken about 3 minutes on each side then remove. Add mushrooms to the pan and add the celery, carrots and parsnips as you chop them Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Cook vegetables 5 to 6 minutes to tenderize them. Scoot vegetables off to the sides of the pan forming a well. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the well and melt them whisk in 2 tablespoons flour. Whisk wine into roux, shake pan to combine then stir in stock. Add chicken back to the pan and stir in the onions. Simmer the chicken 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
Salt water for egg noodles. Add noodles and cook to al dente. Drain noodles and return to hot pot. Add 2 tablespoons butter to noodles and toss to melt. Season noodles with nutmeg, salt and pepper, to taste, and garnish with parsley.