Monday, December 24, 2007
Last Night's Tipple
Oysters dredged in cornmeal and deep fried for dinner tonight, and it seemed like a good idea to have some wine with them. The ideal wine would have been something bone dry, full bodied (to compete with the flavors of the oysters), and pleasantly tart (to cut through the fat imparted by the deep frying). Muscadet is the most commonly-mentioned seafood-friendly wine, but I would have taken a nice, assertive Sauvignon Blanc (like a good one from New Zealand), too. Well, neither of those was available, so I was stuck drinking a glass of 2006 Vendange Chardonnay. I believe that Vendange is the bulk label for Mondavi, which is now owned by Constallation Brands. All of the wines sold under the Vendange label have the California appellation, and all are designed to be easy-drinking wines of wide appeal. And so this one is. The overwhelming impression that I got was one of watered-down apple juice, which indicates that the wine has not gone through malolactic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation converts malic acid (which gets its name from the Latin word for apple) to lactic acid, and it causes apple overtones in a wine to disappear in favor of creamy, buttery ones. Red wines almost always undergo malolactic fermentation, but it's rare for white wines to do so. Except chardonnay. Well, this chardonnay didn't undergo malo, which is just as well, I suppose. It wasn't bad, but I really wish that it hadn't been so watery and that it had been more acidic. But then it wouldn't have been as crowd-pleasing. Oh, well.