Continuing the theme set by last month's review of Humble Pie cabernet sauvignon, this month's sounds-like-dessert choice is Comfort Wine Custard Chardonnay, from vintners Don Sebastiani & Sons. It sells for about $15 in wine shops.
Not that this is a sweet wine (a style that's almost never my choice). This chardonnay's grapes are grown at the Watmaugh Ranch Vineyard in Sonoma, Calif., fermented in stainless steel and aged for six months in new French oak, yielding a mouth-filling but beautifully balanced wine.
The nose is full of buttery and yeasty notes — an aroma that reminded me more of a croissant than of custard — with a touch of pears and almonds.
Creaminess continues on the tongue, where the wine really does recall custard a bit. The almond and pear notes play along, too, although the fruit flavors become more tropical through the middle, with caramelized pineapple on the finish. Distinct but not overpowering oak gives structure to all that fruit-and-butter goodness.
This wine is rich enough to stand up to big flavors. I drank it with Provencal chicken, thigh pieces roasted with shallots, garlic, lemon, white wine and herbs de Provence. It would also work with a fillet of wild salmon topped with a glaze of mustard, maple syrup and crushed walnuts. This chardonnay is even brawny enough to stand up to a platter of blue cheese with walnuts and red grapes.
Next in the dessert theme? For May, when it's already summer in Florida, I'll keep an eye out for a wine called Popsicle.
Colette Bancroft, Times staff writer