Since its inception, Cambridge Cellars has consistently over-delivered on quality, and this month’s feature is no exception. The 2014 Cambridge Cellars CCR Carneros Chardonnay offers a tantalizing bouquet of spring flowers and buttered brioche along with just the right touches of vanilla and caramelized oak. The wine’s aromatics flow through on the palate, too, offering a complex mélange of fruit, lemon curd, freshly baked croissants and toasted almonds. “Hedonism in a glass,” remarked several members of the tasting panel. Add a nice citrus twist, superb texture, and a gracefully long finish to this wine’s delightful repertoire and it is difficult to imagine a better Chardonnay from California or France for less than $50.00 than the 2014 Cambridge Cellars CCR Carneros Chardonnay. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest serving the 2014 Cambridge Cellars CCR Carneros Chardonnay moderately chilled (40º F). Enjoy!
One won’t easily run out of foods to serve with the 2014 Cambridge Cellars CCR Carneros Chardonnay because it can stand and deliver well beyond the usual Chardonnay fare. Yes, it drinks beautifully on its own or with dainty delicacies, but it won’t fade in the face of heartier fare either. Consider serving the Cambridge Cellars’ 2014 CCR Carneros Chardonnay with Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon with a teriyaki glaze on dandelion greens or Grilled Halibut served with a pungent fresh pineapple and tropical fruit chutney. Pasta Primavera and Shrimp and Grits provide other tasty accompaniments. Chicken, pork, and pastas served with cream based sauces pair quite nicely, too, with the Cambridge Cellars CCR Carneros Chardonnay. And if simple and easy is more to your liking, some freshly cut Bosc pears, crisp Fuji apples and soft cow’s milk cheeses such as Camembert, Cheddar or Fontina make worthy companions to this first class Chardonnay, as does a clean empty glass waiting to be filled. Enjoy!
Cambridge Cellars’ story begins at the corner of Cambridge and Sunset in Novato, California at the southern end of Napa Valley. Australian transplants Kim and Bruce Cunningham launched Cambridge Cellars there in 2014, though their story begins long before.
What began years ago as RNR (Revitalizing Neighborhood Recreation) among wine industry friends who enjoyed a bottle or more of wine together has turned into a full-fledged family and community affair in Cambridge Cellars. Although Bruce and Kim have been in the wine industry for decades, represented wineries around the world, and made or purveyed wine from Australia to Spain, Cambridge Cellars is the Cunninghams’ first family winery. They are also the proprietors of AW Direct, a successful importing company of premium wines from around the world.
Unabashedly, Kim and Bruce’s aim in founding Cambridge Cellars in Novato is to build a better future for the next generation, for their own children and the community at large, and to celebrate the positive momentum of their community of wine country farmers, artists and entrepreneurs. Kim, Bruce and their consulting winemaker Douglas Danielak (Wine Spectator named Cambridge Cellars’ Douglas Danielak Winemaker to Watch in July 2014) are off to a strong start and now have several outstanding offerings under their belt, including the superb 2014 Cambridge CCR Single Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay (this month’s feature) and equally impressive 2015 Cambridge Cellars Meritage. Each Cambridge offering is made in small lots of fewer than 1,000 cases.
Chardonnay is not only the most widely cultivated white varietal on the planet; it is also the most treasured. Twice each year at harvest time (because the seasons are reversed in the northern and southern hemispheres) in its native France and in countless locales on six continents Chardonnay grapes command premium prices. In tribute, Chardonnay produces the finest, most flavorful dry white wines in the world to which writers and connoisseurs devote countless columns and untold hours exalting its virtues and dissecting its flavors. Whether it be from Chablis or Champagne, Sonoma or the Western Cape of South Africa, or from the most illustrious of vineyards perched atop the slopes of Corton and Montrachet in Burgundy, Chardonnay is the yardstick by which all other dry white wines have come to be measured. With food, Chardonnay is a peerless match. Chablis and other Chardonnays that see little or no oak provide superb complements to seafood. Fuller, richer, and more heavily oaked renditions of Chardonnay, typified by the finest examples from California, France, and South Africa, pair beautifully with more complex fare, such as rich cream sauces, poultry and white meats. Moreover, the finest Chardonnay wines shine on their own, requiring nothing but a clean glass to please the palate.
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