Starve the Termites – J.Lohr 2001 Riverstone Chardonnay

J Lohr 2001 Chardonnay
Movies are not a priority for me, which I suppose could be strange given that I live in movieland (L.A.) and a lot of my friends are “in the industry” in some form or another. I don’t watch very many movies and if I do, it’s almost always on DVD. If you must know, it’s just that I don’t like going to the movies – tickets are expensive, the theatres are too crowded, too dark, too loud, and if I think about it too long, I *shudder* at the the thought of how unsanitary they are. Even when I finally watch a movie on DVD, it’s almost always long after it has moved from the outer “recently released” walls at Blockbuster to the inner, “older” shelves. Yes, I do have a DVD player, though I will admit that I only *ahem* recently got it. As a gift.

But I’m getting better about watching movies – I didn’t wait that long to watch Napoleon Dynamite, and saw The Incredibles a few weeks ago. And finally, I watched the movie Sideways, which, given that it came out on DVD only a few weeks ago, is quite a notable accomplishment for me. I won’t say all that much about the movie itself other than that it provided a sufficiently entertaining backdrop for dinner and a bottle of wine.

Sure the movie was funny, but the real reason I *chuckled* to myself so much during the two hours is that I am Jack. No, not the sex-crazed-on-a-mission-to-get-laid-before-his-wedding part of Jack**, but the uh-ok-i-sense-strawberries-let’s-just-drink-it Jack. I love drinking wine, and sure, I know the different varietals (I just learned about Nero d’avola, which is similar to a syrah), why there are different colors. However, I am not sophisticated enough (yet) to be able to smell, taste, see all the amazing hints, subtle notes, that super wine nerds (and I use the word “nerd” with barrels of respect) can. To me, it either “tastes good” or “tastes yucky.” However, I am learning.

That is why I have much trouble with chardonnay, because I am still new, and still only go by my very raw tastebuds. Always, chardonnay has tasted like, there’s no way to be delicate about this, like butt. Not buttery, like lots of chardonnays are supposed to taste like; it tastes like butt. Wine connoisseurs have said to me, in lots of chardonnays, you have to appreciate the oak. Hearing that turned me off forever, because I am not a termite. I don’t like drinks that taste like wood. (I don’t like gin either, which tastes like pine.)

The only bottle that I had in the house that was appropriate for our roast salmon and asparagus dinner (more on that next week when I do my farmers’ market report on the asparagus) during our viewing of Sideways, though, was a J.Lohr 2001 Riverstone Chardonnay. *Ugh* Termite fodder. Like a silly little child, oops! I “accidentally” knocked over my first glass, which has now perfumed a spot on my carpet. But my glass was promptly refilled *pout pout* and I had to drink it. Surprisingly, it was lighter in color than most of the very deeply golden yellow chardonnays I’ve seen, and tasted nothing like wood at all. It was fruitier, somewhat lemony, and made the salmon taste even better. (I always marvel at how wine can do that.) Later, I read the label on the back and did some research to see what I was supposed to taste. My tastebuds did not deceive me on the citrus, though the winemaker’s comments said “lime and grapefruit.” However, I definitely did not get “smoky, butter, vanilla and toasted oak.” Maybe I just didn’t want to sense the oak.

Citrus, though. I got the citrus! Yay, I’m getting better. :)

** I’m sure many people have seen the movie Sideways, but for anyone who hasn’t: Jack is getting married, so his dorky best man, Miles, is treating him to his last week of freedom in the California central coast wine country. Jack is a ladies’ man actor and is on a mission to get drunk and “get laid,” and Miles is an 8th grade English teacher, a serious wine connoisseur who wants to play golf, go wine-tasting, and will not drink merlot.

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  • Anonymous

    You know, you need to get over yourself on the Chardonnay. You probably don’t like reds at all, either.

  • sarah j. gim

    actually, i did enjoy this chardonnay, and i suppose it’s the “buttery, oaky” that i need to get over, but i can’t- that’s just the way my tastebuds were born. i will probably eventually learn to appreciate oak-y-ness, i’m just not there yet.

    and yes, you are right, i don’t love reds, but the nero d’avola was pretty good, and i do alright with syrahs and chiantis.


  • Anonymous

    This might be the first time I’ve ever read someone refer to Chardonnay as tasting like “butt.”


  • Annonymous

    If you liked J. Lohr, you should really try Tormeresca 2007 Chardonnay. It’s Italian –I didn’t even know that Italy made Chardonnay until my restaurant started carrying it. I adore this stuff!! It’s extremely smooth, slightly buttery and very citrus-y. I swear, it doesn’t taste at all oaky—like the cheap $9.99 a bottle stuff my father swears by *shudder*.
    Tormeresca makes a fabulous red blend called Neprica. Check that one out too.

  • Molecule Man

    This might be the first time I’ve ever read someone refer to Chardonnay as tasting like “butt.”

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