Win a Fabulous Dinner for Two Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train!
Enter to win dinner for two on us during your next Wine Country visit. Simply click here and you could win dinner for two at one of our favorite places, an exclusive Wine County treat!
This drawing is for two tickets aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train! Enjoy a five-course gourmet dinner, compliments of WineCountry.com! Open year-round, the magnificent Napa Valley Wine Train is an attraction you surely won't want to miss during your visit to the Wine Country! Treat a friend or loved one world class wines, freshly prepared fine dining, and relaxed elegance!
Dinner in the Wine Country is the perfect ending to a perfect day Bon Appétit!
Chardonnay & Oak Aging
This dry white wine, made from the Chardonnay grape, is the most popular of its variety. Chardonnay ranges in style, with some oakier versions contributing to taste. The purpose of Chardonnay aged in oak is to add some of the oaks characters, along with helping the wine develop its texture. Winemakers may lightly toast the inner surface of barrels, allowing the smoky oak or toasty characters to be detected in the final product. Oak gives the taste a dimension of spiciness and adds a hint of vanilla or coconut to the grapes aroma. The oak and Chardonnay combination is a favorite that is sure to last!
Merlot (pronounced Mare-LOW)
Merlot is the most widely planted red grape in France’s Bordeaux region, although it is eclipsed in stature by cabernet sauvignon, the grape with which it is routinely blended. In recent years, Merlot has enjoyed a explosion in popularity, especially in the United States, South America, Italy and Australia. In California, plantings have risen from 4,000 acres in 1988 to over 50,000 today.
A thin-skinned variety, merlot ripens earlier in the season then cabernet sauvignon and is less hardy, prone to a variety of ailments from shatter (the loss of potential fruit during flowering of the vine) to rot and mildew. It is more adaptable to cool climates than cabernet sauvignon, but similarly prefers a relatively warm growing environment.
Merlot’s popularity is due to the fact that it is softer, fruitier, and earlier-maturing than cabernet sauvignon, yet displays many of the same aromas and flavors – black cherry, currant, cedar, and green olive – along with mint, tobacco and tea-leaf tones. Although enjoyable as a varietal wine, it is probably most successful when blended with cabernet sauvignon, which contributes the structure, depth of flavor, and ageability merlot lacks.
Like cabernet, merlot is a good accompaniment to simply prepared beef and lamb dishes.
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