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Fluid: Wine of the Week -Ventana Gold Stripe Chardonnay

August 14, 2010

It is increasingly rare to find a reasonably priced restaurant with great food and a staff knowledgable enough to give you a seriously good wine recommendation- this is why I appreciate Central Kitchen.  They refresh their wine list frequently, always have something new and interesting, and play host to a staff that is clearly well versed in their selection. The fact that they gave up on their ill-advised outisde dining experiment (located in the heart of Central Square on Mass Ave., aka Guy Peeing on the Street Blvd) after just one season, also speaks to their business acumen.

Plus, I appreciate that when I say something typically SB-ish, like: “can I get something happy tasting with fruit that makes me feel good about investing in a whole bottle?” they don’t look at me like I’m insane. 

 The last time I said something like this, my very perky waitress brought out a taste of the 2007 Ventana Gold Stripe Chardonnay, and very happy I became.

Gold Stripe is aged half in oak, and half in steel*. This means that instead of what can sometimes be an overwhelmingly “oaky”* flavor, the chardonnay has just mild notes of vanilla and honey, and does not have the oily, buttery texture that can come from full oak. Instead, the flavors of  lemon and pear are crisp on your tongue, which means you can enjoy it with CK’s  mixed grain timbale (my favorite), roasted chicken,  or mussels, and be equally satisfied.

The best part? Retail price for Gold Stripe is less than $20- less than $15 depending on where you buy it. We all know retail price does not equal restaurant price, but it is still on the lower end of bottle cost, and well worth the investment.

*Oak and steel refer to the type of barrels or casks that the wine is aged in.

*”Oaky” and “Buttery”: An “oaky” flavor can refer to smokiness, clove or spice notes,  or strong vanilla or cream flavors. “Buttery” is a reference to mouth feel as well as flavor, denoting richness of both.

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