Since today is/was #ChardonnayDay on Twitter, my day has been very much planned accordingly around the worlds most popular white grape.
You’re forgiven if you aren’t yet clued in as to what #ChardonnayDay is actually all about; it’s new to me too!
The event essentially revolves around Twitter, with wine drinkers throughout the Twitterverse (yes it’s a word) all gathering either online or at various organized meetups to drink and “tweet” tasting notes and opinions with respect to the various Chardonnay’s they are imbibing.
Kind of nerdy??? Absolutely!!! But it’s actually a lot of fun once you get into it! I always like getting an insight into other peoples’ opinions on the various wines which are out there. It also helps me get a real-time view as to which wines are popular in the market.
Anyways, so I had already decided (with a little help from the Wagner Family) that today Mer Soleil Vineyards would be the origin of my featured Chardonnay’s. Bearing that in mind, I needed a recipe for dinner that would meet three set criteria, namely:
– matching the Mer Soleil Chardonnay (big, oaky, buttery).
– matching the Mer Soleil Silver (more subtle, minerally, unoaked).
- be fairly low in carbs. [I’ve been doing the low carb thing for a couple of weeks now. Trust me, I’m not a big supporter of fad diets, and my love of food will certainly win me back to carbs after a few months, but I figured I could stand to drop a few pounds. 9 lbs so far. Not bad.]
The recipe that I selected was: Coronation Chicken Salad with Mangoes and Almonds
Coronation Chicken is a very English dish to me. It seems that most cafes across the pond offer a Coronation Chicken Salad and/or Sandwich in some form; at least they did when I was over there…but it’s been a while since I’ve been back. I highly doubt much has changed though!
Normally Coronation Chicken sauce is just sold pre-made, ready for you to slap on your salad / sandwich. But where’s the fun there!?!? With that being said, it’s not too often that I cook 20+ ingredient recipes on my day off work. I have a low tolerance for grocery shopping, especially when it comes to finding specific ingredients! There are indeed situations where my English accent can certainly help me get through life all the more smoothly. Asking for Crème fraiche at a grocery store is not one of them…
Even though they both come from essentially the same vineyards in Monterey County (California); Mer Soleil and Mer Soleil Silver couldn’t be any more different.
Mer Soleil “Regular” is very much what you would expect from a Californian Chard from the people that brought you Caymus. No subtlety in sight; and so I felt it would be a perfect match with the mango, apricot jam, almonds and crème fraîche in the dish.
Mer Soleil Silver is much more focused. Un-oaked, minerally and just generally leaning toward a French-style. My theory being that the lemon and lime juice, cilantro, chicken would find a perfect home here.
I’m happy to say the dish turned out awesome, completely outdoing anything store-bought!
It should have though. The prep time on the recipe was long enough, for what at first glance looks like a simple salad! 2 whole rotisserie chickens were actually used in the making of this pairing, so guess who’s eating Coronation Chicken for lunch for the next two days!
Even though they were both good for their own reasons, the Silver had the edge slightly in this pairing. I also have to say that I’m a big fan of their new ceramic bottle packaging, if from nothing more than a marketing perspective!
The regular Mer Soleil over-powered the dish slightly with its bags of butter, caramelized pear and apple. As expected though, it did pick up really nicely on the apricot jam. Don’t get me wrong, if I was eating lobster with melted butter, I would be kicking the Silver to the curb!
In this case however, the Silver was the winner! The subtlety really won though with this dish, with the citrus leading the way, more restrained apple and pear to follow, all backed by a reasonably bracing (by Californian standards) minerality.