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Sep 11

Wine Blogging Wednesday #37: Go Native!

Kevin & I have a lot going on in our family right now. It’s a minor miracle we even remembered Wine Blogging Wednesday. Luckily I purchased the wine a couple of weeks ago and had it chilled. When we arrived home at 10:30 pm tonight from some obligations we had, we popped the cork and each had a glass. I wish we could have had this wine with food – I suspect it would have paired well with a light salad or chicken.

I had it in my head to find some sort of domestic grape for this WBW that was not Norton. (I’m not a fan of the inky Norton.) We chose, as our native grape, the CHARDONEL grape, which is native to none other than the USA – the Finger Lakes, to be exact. I’m going to cheat and just give you a quote from Appellation America:

Chardonel was developed in New York State,
to be a late-ripening, highly-productive, cold-climate varietal. A
cross of Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc, Chardonel is proving its value in
the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states. Given much of the same treatment
as Chardonnay, it adapts well to barrel fermention, and controlled lees
contact. The result is often a full-bodied dry wine, high in alcohol
and acidity, with a similar, if less pronounced character than

I was at an outlet mall in Edinburgh, Indiana, which is sort of a happy distance between Columbus (Indiana) and Indianapolis. Simmons Winery, which is located down the road in Columbus, has an enormously successful outpost in the outlet mall. It’s a really a brilliant idea, if you think about it. People from all over the IN/KY/OH area visit that outlet mall, as my mom and I did for the weekend. (Must. Shop.) Having a small tasting room in the outlet mall is great exposure and marketing.

Simmons itself is located on a 120-year old farm. Simmons farms 12.5 acres with 8 varieties of grape. The Chardonel we’re drinking this evening was grown on their farm. I’m not drinking it in Indiana, but I’m drinking it about 20 miles from the state line, and I am in the right country. Does that earn me WBW Bonus points? They’re growing mostly French-American hybrids, as a lot of midwestern wineries do, but I think there’s a little bit of vinifera thrown in for good measure. I picked up a nice Marechal Foch while I was there as well.

On to the wine.

2004 Chardonel
Simmons Winery
Columbus, Indiana

It’s more complex than you might think, although heavy on the citrus. The nose comes of with a lot of green apples – most like a jolly rancher without the sugar. The attack gives you plenty of apricots, followed by apples and just plain ol’ citrus. The wine finishes with a clean slate, literally. It’s almost like a rock might taste after being washed clean by a rushing stream. However, Kevin detected a slightly oily feeling in his mouth.  Despite the oiliness, it’s also a dry wine, and not too sweet, which is nice.

This is a fun wine, and again, I wish we’d had a chance to try it with some food, especially a simple chicken dinner. Would I buy it again? Probably not.

We’re giving it a . If anything, it was an adventure with a domestic grape I might have avoided in the past. I’m slightly more enlightened now, and isn’t that the point of Wine Blogging Wednesday?

Many thanks to Dr. Vino for hosting this month’s virtual wine adventure. Cheers …

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Posted by Michelle at 11:34 pm in Local, Local Wineries, WBW, Wine Notes, Wineries | Permalink | Comments (1)

One Response to “Wine Blogging Wednesday #37: Go Native!”

  1. Tim says:

    Hi Michelle. Chardonel is an interesting choice, particularly to me as I have Chardonel vines growing in my backyard. Unfortunately, they haven’t produced enough to make any wine with them yet.
    As I understand it, Chardonel was created in a collaboration by Michigan State University and Cornell University with support from Tabor Hill Winery in Michigan. One day I need to try their chardonel.
    Cornell University has applied for a patent on the vine.

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