Chardonnay Has An Image Problem. Here’s How We’re Changing That
Shy away from Chardonnay? You’re not the only one.
As we learned firsthand a decade ago, many of our visitors didn’t even want to try our Chardonnay due to the countless over-the-top Chardonnays they had suffered through that were made by other winemakers. With the memory of the reeking of oak, vanilla and butter clear from their faces of distaste, we received so many declines on simply trying our Chardonnay that we decided to attempt a little experiment.
We took our Chardonnay off the menu and instead, offered a “new wine on a trial basis.” We covered it with a paper bag and asked our visitors what they thought of it. Suddenly, 80% of our visitors who previously turned down a taste of our Chardonnay were clamoring for it.
It was obvious – one of the world’s noble grapes had developed a big image problem. But here at Mount Salem Vineyards, we’re working to give it a second chance with our Burgundian-style Chardonnay, which features finesse rather than power. We ferment and age it in neutral French oak barrels, and it completely lacks the piles of oak, vanilla and butter flavors.
This Saturday, we’ll continue to fight Chardonnay’s unfortunate reputation by offering complimentary tastes of our Chardonnay to anyone who visits that day, and a complimentary glass to anyone who picks up their wine case that day as we release our 2021 Chardonnay.
Visitors are also welcome to purchase a bottle for $40, or a case, prior to Saturday, for $428 (which amounts to $35.70 per bottle.) And we know that those customers will be pleased once they pop the cork – the grapes were about as close to perfect during harvest as we could imagine.
Alongside our Chardonnay, we’ll serve gougères (house-made cheese puffs, a divine delight) and tarte aux oignons, chevre et lardons (house-made onion tart with onions and bacon). Both Burgundian dishes pair beautifully with our Chardonnay, and they’re perfect for this new autumn breeze. Plus, our visitors will return home with recipes for these dishes, which are easy and affordable to make, but yet pack a “wow” factor.
That wow factor has a lot in common with our Chardonnay. Here in Hunterdon County, fine Chardonnay grapes thrive – and we’re more than happy to continue to do our part in making sure that this delicious wine finds the audience it so deserves.
Visit Mount Salem Vineyards Saturday at 54 Mt Salem Rd., Pittstown to try our Chardonnay, or subscribe to your own case or join our case club by contacting us at 908-735-9359 or mountsalemvineyards.com.