The Cellar Door - Anything but Chardonnay

As the old song lyric goes, “easy as ABC”.  But in the world of wine, ABC stands for “Anything But Chardonnay”.  And why would anyone want anything but chardonnay?  Well, have you had enough of overpriced, over oaked and over hyped chardonnay?  Chardonnay is the 6th most planted grape variety worldwide, but also the most overdone.  There are literally hundreds of other varieties made into white wine which can be wonderful, tasty and even occasionally breathtaking. Recently my wife and I purchased and tasted 7 different white non-chardonnays which are all available in Coronado.  They range in price from $5.75 to $25.70. 2013 Trapiche Pinot Grigio  $5.75 13% alc. ArgentinaDry, crisp, almost tart but with good pinot grigio character.  Hints of lemon, citrus and grass.  Best Buy

2012 Villa Antinori Toscana $8.79 12% alc. Italy
A blend of 3 different Italian white grapes. It is a lovely light yellow color with a clean, crisp and dry flavor of citrus and minerals.  It would go well with corvina and other lighter seafood as well as pasta with a lighter sauce.  Good balance.

2012 Marques de Riscal Rueda $9.70 13% alc.  Spain
Made from the verdejo grape.  Lively, crisp with floral flavors.  Long finish of green apples and grass.  Would go well with spicy seafood dishes, curry and other Asian foods.

2010 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling $11.72 11% alc. Washington State, USA
A bit older than usually found for a Riesling, but showing a complexity you don’t get from younger ones.  Well balanced, fruity but not sweet. Very versatile wine which goes well with seafood, butternut squash pasta and other pasta too.  Nice round finish.

2011 Martin Codax Albarino $14.50 12.5% alc. Spain
Crisp with earthy flavors, lemon, honey and stone fruits.  Vert complex.  As it warms a bit and breathes, more flavors emerge.  Great with seafood and grilled meats.

2012 Terrazas Riserva Torrontes $15.65 13.5% alc. Argentina
Full bodied.  Floral hints with complex flavors.  A bit grassy but well balanced. Other flavors of ginger, apple and passion fruit. If you feel like an unoaked or lightly chardonnay, try this instead.  Should go well with pastas of all sorts, especially alfredo or seafood pasta.

2011 Eroica Riesling $25.70 11% alc. Washington State, USA.
This is jointly produced by Chateau Ste. Michelle and Ernest Loosen, the famous German winemaker.  This world class wine is so complex that every sip reveals something new and exciting.  Stone fruits of peaches, apricots, plums; strawberries, limes etc.  Mouthwatering acidity keeps it from tasting sweet.  In perfect balance right now.  Great with seafood, especially crab and lobster and our local shrimp. Desserts too. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

About the author:
M. Stefan has over 20 years experience in the wine trade and has traveled extensively throughout the wine producing regions of the world.  His column is a regular feature of La Playa Community.  He can be reached at and appreciates your comments.