Hey, Wine Not: Kendall Jackson Chardonnay

It's been a month since I first introduced The Wine Down Hey, Wine Not, a new blog series where I share my thoughts and stories on the wines in my rotation. I couldn’t leave you guys hanging so today we’re here exploring a 2015 California Chardonnay.

This week, I'm sipping on a lil’ something recommended by the owner of a liquor store by my job. I was preparing for wine night with one of my guy besties so I went over to grab my usual bottle of Riesling. It’d been a while since the two of us caught up so I opted for a second bottle, just in case. I asked the owner for his recommendation for a white that wasn’t sweet but also not too dry. He suggested the Kendall Jackson 2015 Chardonnay.


After a couple obnoxious swirls, in my attempt to look fancy, my nose was met with a nice tropical aroma coming from the glass. It’s reminiscent of pineapple and mango. Taste wise, you get a lot of fruit in your first sip, followed by a little oak. When I went to the Brooklyn Winery a couple months ago, I got a good lesson on the different types of Chardonnays. There’s oaked and unoaked. Meaning, there are certain wines that sit in barrels of oak before being bottled. This gives the wine a chance to balance out its flavors. Most, if not all, red wines are oaked but only some whites. The time in the barrel is what gives certain white wines that hint of vanilla you’re used to. You can thank a compound found in oak, known as vanillin for that.

I think this bottle is a good introduction for someone looking to explore more of the flavors in the bottle aside from simple sweetness. I first sipped it right after a bottle of Riesling and I think the contrast between them affected my first impression. While the fruit flavors do exist, they aren’t that prominent and can easily get overshadowed by the strong oak flavor. However, I’ve since had a chance to give it a second and third try. When sipped on its own or with the right meal you really see its potential. I tried it with chicken and fettuccine Alfredo and I thought the vanilla and oak were the perfect match for the cream sauce. It also pairs well with lobster but I don’t plan on making that any time soon. All in all, at $17 a bottle, Kendall Jackson’s 2015 Chardonnay is a bottle I plan on returning to.