Collaboration between winemakers and celebs in California is nothing new, going back to and beyond Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone portrayer Fess Parker and the still thriving winery and resort that bear his name in Los Olivos.
These days, one of the more significant pairings is between veteran winemaker Steve Reeder and musician Dave Matthews, who have collaborated to produce an unusually spicy and rich California chard, the 2010 Dreaming Tree Central Coast Chardonnay (about $15 at supermarkets and other outlets).
Wine enthusiast Matthews apparently has lent more than his name to the venture, taking an active role in the infant winery's development and in the decision to go green, from sustainable practices in the vineyard to new lighter weight bottles that reduce the product's carbon footprint. All good stuff, but how's the wine?
In a word: excellent. It commands our attention first on the nose with a light and lively blend of lemon and vanilla. On the tongue is where the spiciness kicks in, lending muscle to a harmonious blend of ripe pear, vanilla and lemon, with the pear really revving up through mid palate. This is an oak-aged chard and it shows, but not as an overwhelming factor, instead providing admirable depth. The medium long finish is surprising, introducing lush butterscotch to an already complex flavor profile.
This voluptuous chard will go down nicely with pork chops stuffed with bleu cheese, with a side of sauteed pears.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.