Yesterday, I was having lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in a while and when the waiter came around to inquire if we were ready to order or if, perhaps, we wanted to start with something to drink, my friend looked at the waiter and with a broad smile declared "I’ll have a glass of white Chardonnay". I looked over at my friend to see if she was trying to make a joke, but the expression on her face told me she meant exactly what she said. I then looked at the waiter to see if he was going to make any sort of snobbish comment, but while you could notice his eyes beginning to roll, but only ever so slightly before it stopped, and a well camouflaged "oh, man" expression being held back with some considerable effort, the waiter simply stated in a matter of fact voice "excellent choice, Ma’am; and what about the gentleman, a red Cabernet Sauvignon, perhaps?", to which I responded "Yes, please. Never did like the white one."
Once the waiter was out of earshot I turned to my friend and said "You know, when you order a Chardonnay, the assumption is that it will be white since Chardonnay is actually a white grape variety and ordering a ‘white’ Chardonnay could make you look a bit like, shall we say, a wine boob.
My friend answered "Oh, I know, I’m so bad with wines. I just don’t know anything about them except that I like white Chardonnay….oh, sorry, Chardonnay."
During lunch my friend asked my advice on how she could
learn more about wines. Specifically, she asked me what book I could recommend that would give her some basic and fundamental knowledge and advice about wines.
I didn’t hesitate for a second and immediately suggested she purchase the excellent book "Wine: An Introduction" by renowned wine writer and author Joanna Simon. This book covers wine fundamentals in a easy to read, easy to understand and approachable manner. It covers, among other things, wine styles, grape varieties, tasting wines, exploring wines, growing and making wines, buying them, storing them and pairing them with foods. The book is also nicely illustrated with high production values, great photography, graphics and charts. If this were not enough, this book is also on the required reading list of the International Sommelier Guild – Wine Fundamentals I course. You can order this book hassle free from Amazon by simply clicking one of the the links below.
One note on "red Chardonnay’s": There is at least one producer (Polk County’s Green Creek Winery) making a red Chardonnay by fermenting Chardonnay juice on Chambourcin skins, alas, I’ve not seen it anywhere yet.