We tasted the Three Sticks 06 Chard in possibly the worst possible situation – a gigantic show and tasting put on by the Family Winemakers of California. Imagine a room as big as a football field, with over 100 wineries, each trying to impress restaurant owners and retailers and even some consumers. It was chaotic and noisy. And there was a lot of wine. So it really means something that this one chardonnay managed to stand out – in a good way.
It has the classic chardonnay nose, with a little hint of honeysuckle, just enough to tease, but not enough to smell sweet or cloying. There’s a touch of oak, a combination of fifty percent new French oak and fifty percent neutral oak, just enough to concentrate the flavors that make a good chardonnay without tasting like splinters.
Tasting, Michael got apples, citrus and melons with a rich mouthfeel and enough tannins to keep the palate happy. This is a good food wine. Try fruit, cheeses, chicken and possibly a cream sauce with pasta. And if you really want to, you can cellar it, thanks to the right balance of acids, tannins and alcohol.
The whole point of the Three Sticks Durell Vineyards Pinot Noir is to remind you of the great Burgundies (as in the Burgundy region of France). Keep in mind, French wines, in general, and certainly Burgundies, are meant to go with food. So the fruit flavors are more subtle, the acids tend to be higher and the alcohols percentages tend to be lower.
Which, of course, runs totally counter to the American and, increasingly, the Australian styles in pinots. We decidedly prefer pinots that are in the food friendly Burgundian style, which is one of the things we liked best about the Three Sticks pinot.
The nose of cedar and dusty dry fruit promises a lighter touch in the mouth. There is a nice acid to fruit balance at the core of this lovely, delicate wine, so look for food that isn’t too heavy, isn’t too light. You can try lightly seasoned meats, maybe some grilled pork chops or a simple steak. And while red wine is usually considered too strong for fish, if you get a nice bit of herbed up salmon or a Salade Nicoise, that could be very tasty. Or any combination of duck and mushrooms. Being so versatile, a wine made this well can find a soulmate in unexpected places. Even a BLT on french baugette while watching the World Series wouldn’t be out of place.