While we may still be a few weeks away from Mother's Day, I am constantly reminded of my own mother. Although passed, I find that many of us have some tradition or manner in which to remember and honor the woman who gave us life.
I know I'm getting a little mushy but in this week "Wine of the Week" I happened to come across a wine in my cellar that was named after the winemaker's mother. A little beyond my means since I don't own a winery, but befitting none the less. The wine
Walter Hansel Winery Russian River Chardonnay "Cuvee Alyce" 2014
For context, Walter's son, Stephen, has taken over the winery and with patience and guidance, had come to be a premier wine producer in California. Alyce was Stephen's mother and uses select grapes from particular vineyards to produce their "Cuvee Alyce." This includes both the Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir. For my money, this wine represents some of the best wines made. What better way to honor his mother.
As is usually the case, I was in the mood for a wine to go with a new recipe I had in mind. Pineapple Risotto with Sears Scallops. While skimming my cellar for the right wine, I first gave thought to my old favorite, Sauvignon Blanc. Then I thought, no, the Risotto needs something bigger but still retaining a subtle fruit flavor. Bingo! Chardonnay, and from a producer known for lush and well-balanced wines.
The oak treatment on this wine lends itself to that of a Grand Cru Chardonnay from France, yet retains that hint of fruit so necessary for the meal. The nice acidity also lends itself to the integration with the Pineapple Risotto. This is a wine that for Chardonnay lovers, should have close at hand. While the 2014 Vintage may still be available, more than likely you will find 2015 on the shelves, that is if you can find it at all. 2014 received a 95 Point Review from Wine Advocate and 93 from Vinous Media. 2015 shows signs it will easily match those scores. Past vintages also reflect a quality that carries on year after year.
What should all this wine cost? Most cases, you should find it selling for just South of $40. While a little on the high side, comparable wines could easily run well over $50 and in the case of some French wines, well over $100.
Give it a try, and don't forget Mom.