I am bred from restaurant stock so I love to find winemakers who come from a similar background. John Lancaster and Robert Perkins both hail from the wine program at the famed Boulevard Restaurant in San Francisco—John was wine director and Robert the sommelier. Alondra (Spanish for skylark) is part of their Skylark portfolio, which includes a number of other wines, notably reds with a Rhône influence.
Chardonnay is grown the world over and is extremely receptive to both its natural surroundings and the whims of the winemaker. This allows it to show many faces, from bold, ripe oak-driven to mineral-bent and laser-tight. In the heat of the summer months, I am most appreciative of a refreshing and clean unoaked Chardonnay. Alondra is just that and more. The grapes are sourced from the Middleridge Ranch Vineyard in Mendocino where the cool nights help keep the fruit pure and the acidity bright and bracing. For a Chablis lover like myself, I immediately took to this when I first tasted it—and then I took another sip. The fruit is pure, apple and pear with subtle tropical and mineral notes. As well as not using oak, they refrain from allowing malolactic fermentation to occur, enhancing its freshness and grace.
This would pair beautifully with chilled seafood salad, like grilled
squid and green papaya with peppers and mint. Not necessarily too spicy,
but if you want to amp up the heat, go right ahead. Try it as well with
mussels. One of my favorite recipes comes from Cambodia, a mussel,
asian basil and sweet pepper mix (I like the Leah Cha recipe from
Longteine De Monteiro of the Elephant Walk Cookbook), which works
wonders when served with this wine.