Mushroom and Chicken Risotto … with an Unoaked Chardonnay

Pairing:  Mushroom and Chicken Risotto Paired with a 2012 Iron Horse Unoaked Chardonnay

Food: Marcella Hazan was arguably the leading authority on Italian cuisine for generations of home cooks, and her seminal work, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, is widely considered to be the bible of Italian cooking. Our dish is an adaptation of her Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms from this cookbook just with some pieces of cooked chicken added to the risotto at the end. Follow the link for the recipe. If you are a fan of mushrooms (like we are), the wonderful earthy flavors of this dish are without equal. But the chicken doesn’t let the mushrooms overwhelm the dish. Can’t think of any superlatives to give it justice.

Mushroom and Chicken Rissoto

Wine:  Many of us associate Chardonnay with big, bold, buttery flavors. Those flavors are actually a result of aging the wine in oak barrels for part of the aging process. The influence of the oak on the wine depends on the length of time the wine stays in the barrel, whether it is new or old oak, French or American oak. The skill of the winemaker in managing the oak determines the taste and quality of the Chardonnay.

Some winemakers, however, choose to forgo the oak and let the pure, unaltered flavor of the Chardonnay grape be the centerpiece of the wine … an Unoaked Chardonnay. That part of Burgundy called Chablis is probably the most well known wine region in the world producing Unoaked Chardonnay, though for this meal we are pairing one from the Green Valley in Sonoma, California.

Iron Horse Unoaked Chardonnay

Tasting Notes:  A clean, smooth golden wine, but with a crispness reminiscent of a Soave or Pinot Grigio. The nose brings forth aromas of some light citrus and green apple, while flavors of ripe peaches and tropical fruit (even a little pineapple) emerge on the palate.  A lovely complement to this risotto.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Mushroom Risotto:  Pinot Noir (California), Soave Classico (Italy), Pinot Grigio (Italy), White Burgundy (France)

Other Food That Pairs Well with an Unoaked Chardonnay:  Curries, Guacamole, Grilled or Roasted Pork, Grilled Shrimp, Grilled Salmon

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