Chardon-May, Biltmore Chardonnay and Carolina Moon

Chardon-May, Biltmore Chardonnay and Carolina Moon

How long have you been reading WineAndCheeseFriday? Did you ever read our Pinot-Vember series of entries? Today we begin Chardon-May which will continue throughout the entire month of May. Not only will this be part of another fun set of entries but they just happen to fall within the same month as Chardonnay Day (May 24). Are you ready to learn about Chardonnay from some of the lesser known regions of the world? We’ll begin Chardon-May with the pairing of Biltmore Chardonnay and Carolina Moon, both from North Carolina. Be sure to keep checking back this month for more Chardonnay pairings.

Biltmore Estate Chardonnay

We’ve been in North Carolina for about a month now and although we’ve heard of Biltmore Estate, we didn’t realize it was nearby. Then when we were on the search for bottles of Chardonnay to be part of Chardon-May, we came across the Biltmore wine. Have you heard about the famous Cornelius Vanderbilt who made his millions in the railroad and shipping industries? Well, his grandson decided to build a country home out in Asheville, NC and that’s the site of the present day (Biltmore) winery.

Let’s start tasting the wine now. As we swirled it, I picked up aromas of butter, apple, a slight sweetness and another fruit that seemed like white grape. Neil noticed floral aromas as well as lemon butter. I found the wine to be smooth and it tasted like creme brûlée. There was a bit of acid too and it was slightly dry. I wondered if this dryness was from the use of American oak? Neil thought the flavor was “a delightfully light, green apple flavor” with butter and vanilla.

Chapel Hill Creamery at Durham Farmer's Market

This cheese is made by Chapel Hill Creamery, http://chapelhillcreamery.com/project/carolina-moon/. They offer multiple cheeses but we thought this soft-ripened cheese would be a good match for our Chardon-May pairings. We picked up the Carolina Moon cheese when we visited the Durham Farmer’s Market. We are so fortunate that there are multiple local cheese vendors there. We look forward to trying them all!

Neil noticed this cheese to have aromas of milk, funk, grass and salt. I thought the aromas were pungent, barnyard, milk and I kept smelling the rind. The cheese had a smooth and creamy texture. My initial tasting notes were brine, hay and a saline that I felt in my nose. There was definitely a lot of flavor coming off that rind, I thought it might have been thick so it really influenced the flavor. Neil found the flavors of grass, a bit of salt and that the rind seemed like brine. I felt that you needed to wait a bit for the flavor to really develop. Then as i ate more, the brie flavor seemed to change to a bit of a cheddar flavor. When I tried it without the rind, the flavor was buttery. Neil enjoyed eating just the cheese by itself.

We both found the butter to be accelerated in this pairing. The wine definitely smelled like butter to me and Neil tasted the butter along with the creme brulee flavor. I noticed the cheese made the flavor of toast or oak come out with the wine. The cheese had more of a salty funky aroma and the flavor kicked in. Neil disagreed, he thought the cheese lost most of it’s funk but the flavor of the cheese was transferred to the wine. He really liked the pairing.

Although I noticed the flavor of toast and oak popping up a few times, this was a really good, smooth, creme brûlée type of Chardonnay. Neil called this a versatile wine since we are able to enjoy it multiple nights with dinner too. He also felt it was different on its own and when paired. How fun that this is a NC wine that we just happened to find since we were here. Where do you think our next Chardonnay will be from? You’ll just have to check back next week to find out!