Oaked Chardonnay assignment
I received the following in response to my "what shall I bring?" query:
"Hi, thanks. If you like, bring a bottle of Syrah or Chardonnay. We normally avoid the latter, but it was recommended for the chicken that's going on the grill (specifically an oaked one)."
Although i'd rather drink Syrah, i thought it might be fun to take on the chardonnay challenge. I , too, have avoided Chardonnay for lo, these last 10 years, so I don't have any personnal knowledge to go on. Also, the hostess is a francophile, but I'm under the impression most French Chards have less oak than CA...is that right?
looking forward to your thougths...
Earrazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay from Chile's Casablanca Valley satifies all your criteria. Chile's not the first place that comes to mind when you think Chardonnay. The wine is rich enough to stand up to grilled foods but has the acidity required to keep things lively and cut through fat. The oak treatment is apparent but not overpowering. The flavours are surprisingly pure. It runs about C$22 up here, so should be well within your budget. And it's widely available.
If you want to stay within the USA, I would try something like the Rochioli Chardonnay 2007; it's just made it to UK shores so I am sure it'll be widely available to you.
Apple, floral, slightly spicy and some nice oaky vanilla, but not too in your face.
French... well, I like Giradin Chassagne Montrachet. Again, subtle oak but a fantastic food wine. 2005 is superb.
You could also try something like St Veran, Chateau Beauregarde springs to mind as a good value play.
Given that price range, the Rochioli recommended by Steve is out of reach. So are White Burgs from the more "popular" villages. But if you want a White Burg that isn't merely labeled Bourgogne, look for village wines from Givry, Rully, Mercurey (techically Cote Chalonnaise, but close). Also Saint Veran, Pouilly Fuisse, Macon-Villages.
re: Brad Ballinger
Any of these look like good bets? (I love that my wine store has online inventory now)
Champy Rully, Burgundy, France $21.99
Cornin Macon-Chaintre, Burgundy, France $21.99
Domaine de Villaine Bouzeron, Burgundy, France $20.99
Drouhin Laforet Chardonnay, Burgundy, France $13.99
Faiveley Bourgogne Chardonnay 375ml, Burgundy, France $14.99
Jadot Chateau des Jacques Beaujolais-Villages Blanc, Burgundy, Fr $16.99
Jadot Cote de Nuits Villages 'Le Vaucrain', Burgundy, France $29.99
Jadot Macon-Villages Chardonnay, Burgundy, France $12.99
Jadot Pouilly-Fuisse, Burgundy, France $24.99
Vincent Girardin Rully Vieilles Vignes, Burgundy, France $25.99