My husband and I recently had the pleasure of being invited to a mid-week patio dinner party. Hosted by Bill and Joyce Sykes, to christen their new stone patio and inspired by the quadrifecta (a term coined by Bill) of fabulous food, wine, friends and weather. We were accompanied by our camera buff and fellow oenophile friend, Paulette Musselman and joined by the Sykes’ award winning architect Fred Oesch, new friends Henry & Laverne Chandler and Two J’s Smokehouse’s, Joshua and Megan Ball. The common denominator was a fondness for excellent wine, bubbly, and support of the Wildlife Center of Virginia…oh, yes…and dining al fresco!
The wine that received a startling reaction was Chatham Vineyards Church Creek Chardonnay causing a simultaneous applause for best choice to kick off the evening. I’ve written about this wine before, having enjoyed it at least four different times at Early Mountain Vineyards. Apparently each of us had experienced this wine separately and unanimously found this Chardonnay to be the exception to most Chardonnays, having been fermented in steel tanks and resulting in a slightly creamy but crisp refreshing wine. Described as below by Chatham Vineyards:
100% Dijon clone 95/96 Chardonnay fermented and aged in stainless steel. With delicate hints of pear and green melon, crisp acidity and mineral elements, this unoaked Chardonnay, at a sensible 12.5% alcohol, recalls Burgundy more than Napa. This is a pure expression of the varietal and Eastern Shore terroir.
Excellent with oysters, clams, and seafood pairings. (Agreed!!)
The highlight on the menu was the magnum of Janisson & Fils Champagne brought back from a recent trip to France by the Sykes. I believe we all were a little greedy about refills We missed Claude Thibaut and wife Pamela Margaux at the party but savored the Thibaut-Janisson sparkling Cuvee’ d’ Etat Blanc de Blanc. Heavenly!
We’ve reached that “delicious” time of year in Virginia for pulling on a warm sweater, early leaf changes, football and fire pits. Why not grill some seafood and toast Autumn with a Virginia wine?