Layer Cake makes wines from grapes grown in Australia, Italy, Spain, Argentina and the United States. The 2009 Layer Cake Virgin Chardonnay ("One Hundred Percent Pure") is made from grapes grown in the ocean-breeze-cooled Monterey and Santa Barbara districts of California's Central Coast.
All of the grapes were fermented in stainless steel and, although certain lots were aged in oak, the oak is barely perceptible on the nose or on the tongue, yielding a clean, fresh chard in the modern style. We picked up a bottle at a big box store for about $13.
The wine's bouquet is dominated by robust Meyer lemon and nuanced with light apricot and a touch of honey. Meyer lemon is prominent on the tongue, too, where it is joined by mellow melon and a hint of tart green apple. The finish is long and clean with a melon flourish at the end. Overall, this chard is fruit forward, beautifully balanced and bursting with flavor. It is a fine food wine.
We might pair it with grilled snapper or grouper, or with spaghetti carbonara rich with the flavors of pancetta, eggs, garlic and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It also would go nicely with comfort foods like roast chicken and mashed potatoes.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.