I prefer buttery, rich Chardonnays over acidic, zesty ones, and this 2009 Layer Cake Virgin Chardonnay ($14) has me giddy and excited, even after all the wines we've tried during wine month. The story behind this Central California Coast wine is a precious one. On the back of the label, winemaker Jayson Woodbridge explains the inspiration for the winery's name: "My old grandfather made and enjoyed wine for 80 years. He told me the soil in which the vines lived were a layer cake. He said the wine, if properly made, was like a great layer cake . . ."
This 2009 Chardonnay is a layer cake indeed. Aged in stainless steel tanks, rather than French oak barrels, the aroma of the Chardonnay is clean but also distinctly buttery. On the tongue, vanilla, tart lemon, and frothy meringue come to mind, and it swallows with a roasted flavor like popcorn and a hint of a warming spice, such as nutmeg. On a hot day, I'd pair this wine with a lightly sautéed white fish. However, I'd love to store a few of these bottles for the Winter, when I'm making creamy, rich fettuccine alfredo.