Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulez!
If we can’t be in New Orleans celebrating Mardi Gras, the next best thing is to crank up a celebration at home with some good wine. We did just that with some N’Awlins-style food and a pair of standout wines from Santa Barbara County.
Kessler-Haak Vineyard & Wines is situated in the northwest corner of the Santa Rita Hills appellation. Fog rolls across the hills in the morning followed by crisp Pacific breezes and bright afternoon sunshine. Conditions are ideal to produce cool-climate style Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Zydeco Sets The Stage
The joie de vivre is strong in New Orleans. There is a pulse of people, culture and energy. There is great jazz and blues and our favorite: Zydeco. The music is a Cajun blend of accordion, washboard and lively singing.
With the Kessler-Haak 2014 Estate Chardonnay chilling, we put on “Don’t Mess with My Toot Toot” by Rockin’ Sidney and Green Dragon started whipping up her shrimp Jambalaya.
For our meal we also had spicy Red Beans and Rice and finished it with a New Orleans style King Cake.
Cool Climate Chardonnay Rules
I poured glasses of both the Chardonnay and the Kessler-Haak 2012 Ohana Pinot Noir as the salad course came out. I began sipping the Chard and declared, “This is one of the best Chardonnays I’ve had in years.”
We’re not fans of buttery and overly oaked Chardonnay. I guess there is a time and place for it, but we’re fans of more restrained and polished winemaking.
The apple, pear and slightly nutty flavor of the wine was sublime. There is a slight whiff of oak, but it only danced around the edges of the flavor profile. This was a beautiful pairing for our shrimp Jambalaya.
This is an impressive Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay for only $29. It provided a perfect launch for our festive evening.
Pinot With A Great Pedigree
The Ohana Pinot was a winner right out of the bottle. The aroma of blackberry and briars was a signal that this would be a sensational wine. Ohana is a Hawaiian concept that means family – but beyond that it means that eveyone should remember they are family and need to cooperate.
We “cooperated” by serving up the Red Beans and Rice. The dishes we served were more driven by the occasion of Mardi Gras than us identifying the ideal pairing for Chardonnay and Pinot. But it worked!
Kessler-Haak wines exemplify the adage that great wine is made in the vineyard. Each day staff is in the vineyard working to coax the best out of the grapes. Harvesting the grapes at just the right time is key to success. The winemaking process is minimalistic, intervening in the natural process only when necessary.
Santa Barbara County is a wine region to know. Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines produces exciting wines to help you let “the good times roll.”
Full disclosure: We received these wines as marketing samples.