I hadn’t seen my college friend Matt or his wife Maggie since their wedding nearly 18 months ago, so when they called to say they’d be in town from Chicago for the weekend and wanted to stop by, I got pretty excited. Matt said they would be around in time for lunch, so I decided to make seafood risotto and, of course, pair it with wine. They had traveled to Napa and Sonoma for their honeymoon, just as Sonja and I had done about three years prior, so I knew they liked wines. Also, like us, they aren’t loaded with cash, so I wanted to share with them a wine that I knew was a solid QPR in case they liked it enough to go looking for it in the future.
True to form with the rest of the wines they produce, the 2014 Columbia Crest Chardonnay is a great QPR in the under $10 range. Huge oak notes are almost overpowering at first, but it mellows out magnificently, boasting a creamy texture that commingles with hints of stone fruit (think: tart tangerine) and green apples. It paired well with the creamy, cheesy risotto full of button mushrooms, scallops, and asparagus, and when lunch was finished we took our glasses into the family room to finish them off over conversation and catching up.
I don’t ever feel like I need an excuse to pop a cork, but if you do, then meeting up with old friends is as good a reason as any. The 2014 Columbia Crest Chardonnay drinks above its modest price point. I gave it 87 points on my scale, and I recommend it.