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Alta Maria Chardonnay with Santa Barbara Roast Chicken
Chardonnay is one of the most versatile, and frequently consumed, wines in the world. Most people know Chardonnay to have apple or pear flavors with some level of oak and butter. But other Chardonnays, like those from Burgundy, France for instance, can be very different: lean and zippy, hints of minerality or even soft and elegant. It all depends on the growing conditions, terroir, the winemaker’s style and mother nature.
2009 Alta Maria Chardonnay, from viticulturist James Ontiveros and winemaker Paul Wilkins, makes a stand as a fresh, unique style of Chardonnay; one that really pairs well with food. The grape’s naturally high acidity plus Paul’s aging style of part neutral oak, part stainless steel makes the wine a perfect accent to a meal. Its distinct lemon/lime quality begs to be paired with a citrus-infused dish: roast chicken, risotto or even lemon cake!
This Roast Chardonnay Chicken with Santa Barbara Herbs is a twist on a French classic dish using herbs de Provence. What we found in our garden in Santa Barbara County were rosemary, lemon thyme, basil and chives. And garlic, of course! Also, fennel is a bountiful crop here on the Central Coast, and you can usually substitute this for celery, as we did, instead of a traditional mirepoix (French base of onion, carrot and celery). Browning the chicken before roasting gives it a richer flavor than more simple roasts and the end result is a savory, delicious one-pot meal that pairs perfectly with the subtle body and flavors of Alta Maria Chardonnay.
Alta Maria’s tasting room is in the heart of Los Olivos, featuring their signature Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with a few newcomers – Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Also available are Autonom Rhone varietals from Paul Wilkins and Native9 Pinot Noir from James Ontiveros. The pair met in college, following separate paths in the wine world, finally coming back together in a vineyard in Santa Maria to make Alta Maria Vineyards, reflecting their love of all things homespun and honest. Alta Maria is open daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, call (805) 686-1144.
Roast chardonnay chicken with santa barbara herbs
In large bowl, combine the Chardonnay, 1 cup olive oil, diced garlic, herbs, lemon juice, pepper and salt. Place chicken in the mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for 6 hours. Turn occasionally.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Heat remaining olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel and garlic cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. When the vegetables are caramelized, spoon them along the sides of the pan.
Remove chicken from marinade and add to the middle of the pan. Sear each side until slightly brown, about 3 minutes per side. Arrange the quartered cabbage around the sides of the chicken and pour the marinade into the pan over the chicken and vegetables.
Cover the pan with a lid and roast in the oven for 60-70 minutes, until the chicken is done (meat is cooked through when cut, leg separates easily from the body, or 170 degrees on meat thermometer). Remove lid and let it rest at room temperature 10 minutes.
Recipe provided by Liz Dodder. Visit Liz's food blog at www.foodcharmer.com
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