During my very brief trip up to Napa with Beau a couple weeks ago, we had the pleasure of stopping into Crushpad to meet with Cynthia Cosco, maker of Passaggio Wines. Cynthia is known for making a fantastic unoaked Chardonnay and also a Pinot Grigio. I have heard many rave reviews from fellow wine bloggers and wine connoisseurs about how good it is and I was very lucky to have the chance to sample some.
For those of you who do not know the primary differences between a traditional oaked Chardonnay versus an unoaked Chardonnay; a traditional oaked Chardonnay is barrel fermented combined with the winemaking technique known as malolactic fermentation; however it is possible for some Chardonnays to see malolactic fermentation with no barrel aging. The malolactic fermentation is what gives a traditional Chardonnay its rich buttery and creamy taste. A unoaked Chardonnay is a Chardonnay that has been fermented in stainless steel or glass-lined containers. Though it is typical that most unoaked chardonnays do not go through the process of malolactic fermentation, some do. Winemakers of unoaked Chardonnay who use the malolactic fermentation process want a softer wine with more rounder mouthfeel. The unoaked Chardonnay shows its true fruit flavors and is more sharply acidic thus making it refreshing and crisper while an oaked Chardonnay inhibits toasty vanilla and lusher fruit flavors.
For those of you who know me, you know that I am not typically a Chardonnay drinker, especially most typical California chards that are oak fermented with the typical buttery, creamy taste. My white wine preferences tend to lie with crisper, more fruit forward wines such as Sancerre, Albariño, and Torrontés to name a few. For these reasons, I was very excited to give unoaked Chardonnay a try, especially Passaggio unoaked Chardonnay. I tried her 2009 New Generation Unoaked Chardonnay.
In the glass, the wine had a pale straw color. The nose was extremely fragrant with scents of crisp green apple, pear, pineapple, and tropical fruit. On the palate were flavors of grapefruit, tropical fruit, and honeydew with great acidity. This wine is absolutely lovely and crisp and so very easy to drink. I paired it with a pasta dish with homemade seafood sauce. The pairing was perfect.
This is a perfect wine for those warmer days where you want something chilled and refreshing or for those days when you want a lighter wine. As of late, the days in Southern California have been quite warm and this wine was perfect for the warmer days. This is definitely a wine I would love to keep on hand. I highly recommend giving it a try. The wine sells for $16 per bottle. This is a phenomenal price for such an outstanding wine. If you are a Chardonnay lover, I recommend getting yourself a case at this value so you can have it on hand. The wine is very easy to drink and you will be absolutely delighted. I also look forward to trying her Pinot Grigio as I’ve heard great things about it as well.
It was such a pleasure meeting with Cynthia at Crushpad and look forward to seeing all the wonderful things she has in store.