Labor Day – Don’t Give Up on Summer, Don’t Give Up on Chardonnay

We know summer is nearly over because the local sweet corn has lost its magic; big kernels,  and sometimes even mealy. We can’t help ourselves, we still buy it.  Just like the photo below, the sweet corn goes into the background.  Luckily, the veggies in our garden and CSA box are still going strong.  In fact, we’re having the August panic of what to do with all the tomatoes!  Tonight we started with caprese salad with tomatoes and basil from the garden.  The main course was steamed clams and grill roasted veggies.  This is the perfect setting for a lean, stony Chardonnay.

A nice meal to mark the later days of summer 2013.

A nice meal to mark the later days of summer 2013.

Wind Gap James Berry Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 ($25 from the winery)
Are you part of the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) camp? We’re not quite in that group, but we don’t drink Chardonnay that often. We enjoy French Chablis, and lesser village white Burgundies. Domestically, we have a hard time finding examples that aren’t overripe and over-oaked. The Wind Gap James Berry Chardonnay comes from a vineyard rich in limestone near Paso Robles.  Its made and aged in stainless steel and concrete, so it retains lots of fresh acidity and mineral notes.  This is a Chardonnay we love.

Eye: Pale yellow in color, very pale.
Nose: Fresh lemons and stones.
Mouth: Flavor is tart, acidic and stony. Mouthfeel is not far from a village Chablis, perhaps just a bit richer.

Chardonnay from James Berry Vineyard - lemons and stones.  Butter need not apply.

Chardonnay from James Berry Vineyard – lemons and stones. Butter need not apply.

Steamers and Chardonnay
We’re enjoying a relaxing Labor Day weekend at home.  No harried drive anywhere.  On the way home from work, I stopped at Coastal Seafoods to pick up some fresh manila clams for steaming.

Steamed manila clams, roasted CSA veggies, crusty bread & Wind Gap. Ahh!

Steamed manila clams, roasted CSA veggies, crusty bread & Wind Gap. Ahh!

Steamer Clams – Entree Size
Ingredients – for two, easily multiplied for a larger group

  • 2 lb. Manila clams – or true steamers, or mussels – your choice
  • 1 large ripe tomato, hopefully from your garden or farmers market
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Handful of fresh oregano
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 4 oz. of white wine, less if the tomato is very juicy

Steam the clams on the stovetop until they open up.  It takes surprisingly little time, only 5 minutes or so after the liquid starts to boil. Serve with a nice loaf of crusty French bread.

manila clams, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tomatoes

Manila clams, garden tomatoes, thyme, rosemary & oregano.  Just before they go on the stove.

Grill Roasted Veggies
We used the veggies we had in the CSA box: carrots, sweet peppers, radishes, zucchini.  Tossed in a bit of extra virgin olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper.  Then, into the grill basket.  The veggies take longer than the clams, so you’ll need to get them started first.

Roasting the CSA veggies: carrots, radish, zucchini, peppers

Roasting the CSA veggies: carrots, radish, zucchini, peppers

The corn is done, but we still have some nice days ahead.  Plenty of time to keep using the grill and drinking up your summer wines!

Comments
7 Responses to “Labor Day – Don’t Give Up on Summer, Don’t Give Up on Chardonnay”
  1. talkavino says:

    Food looks delicious! Looks like this is highly allocated Chardonnay. Who makes it? I was trying to find information on the Wind Gap web site, but both sections “about us” and “People” display the same message “coming soon”…

    • Not so much allocated as small production. Wind Gap is Pax Mahle’s winery in Sonoma. Their mailing list is open, so you can find out when the new releases arrive, and they ship to any state that allows.
      I wrote up my last trip to the winery last year: http://wp.me/p2lH8G-my
      Some of my favorites besides the James Berry are the Sceales Grenache and the Sonoma Coast Syrah (also wrote up this one). If you give them a try, please tell them I sent you!

  2. That all looks REALLY GOOD ! Nice and light.

  3. I have always wanted to try their wines, but they are certainly hard to come by in PA….

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