Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Cost: $10 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Bright, light yellow robe. The smell gives notes of fresh fruit (apricot, pear) and white flowers. The mouth is fresh and well-balanced. Pairs well with shellfish, fish, white meat, or as an apertif.
My Review: Anybody that’s been following my wine exploits knows that for some time I’ve been trying to expand my knowledge and experience with French wines. Fortunately an opportunity recently presented itself to sample some wines from France to see what I thought of them and to share my opinions with my readers.
The 2010 Zanzibar Blanc is 100% Chardonnay and on the nose I got light fruit notes, mostly pear, and some of the white flower notes advertised in the tasting notes. In the mouth the pear notes carried through and I noticed a distinct difference from the stainless steel chardonnay I would get from someplace like California. While there was a crispness to it, there finish lacked some of the bite I’ve come to expect from wine made in this style in the US. That’s not to say it was a bad thing.
At first the finish had what I could only describe as a hint of sweetness to it – not from a blending of a sweeter grape into the bottle, but more an impression than anything else that faded the more I sipped at the wine. That being said, those first hints of a subtly sweet finish were perfect for the dinner my wife and I had prepared – Penne Rustica. For those unfamiliar with the Romano’s Macaroni Grill line of restaurants, it’s their signature dish and involves penne, chicken, prosciutto, and shrimp in a cream sauce that’s topped with paprika and then baked. The dish has a bit of a kick to it and is a favorite of my wife and I since that’s the restaurant we were working at when we met.
Getting back on track. The subtly sweet finish from the 2010 Zanzibar Blanc was perfect when paired with the food as it matched the subtle heat from the food and they balanced each other perfectly. This allowed the other flavors of the wine to work with the food and created a very enjoyable dining experience. After we were done with dinner I found even the subtle sweetness on the finish that I had found before to have faded and was left with a nice, fairly simple Chardonnay to enjoy with my wife.
If you’ve had any hesitation about delving into French wines, I can say that this is a great place to start. The wine isn’t pretentious or overwhelming in any way and will appeal to palates used to US wines while offering them something new at the same time. When you factor in the price it’s an even better value and one that I recommend trying if for no other reason than to expose yourself to another bottle of wine.
*Full Disclosure – I received this wine as a free sample.