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Summer Prelude: Easy, Elegant Chardonnay Menus


Summer Prelude: Easy, Elegant Chardonnay Menus

If you’re anything like us, the month of May has us celebrating short sleeves, bare feet on grass, garden brunches and LOTS of outdoor grilling.

There’s just something about alfresco dining that brightens even the simplest menus and wines, whether the setting is a backyard garden or an intimate balcony. With summer around the corner and grilling season finally within sight, it’s time to smooth on your SPF, pull the cork on your favorite Chardonnay and take your dinner outside.

Join The List to discover our Chardonnays.

Need some inspiration?

Executive Chef Trevor Eliason offers his top three suggestions for super simple menus, plus one gorgeous new halibut recipe. When he created these pairing tips, Chef Trevor had our Collection of Napa Valley and Russian River Valley Chardonnays in mind, which focuses on vineyard-driven white wines made without malolactic fermentation.

Although each shows the hallmarks of their vintage and vineyard provenance, they all possess bright fruit and minerality in youth and develop sophisticated, rich palate profiles over time. And they all pair happily with the menu suggestions, below!

elegant chardonnay pairing

Three Easy, Elegant Chardonnay Pairing Ideas

from the Far Niente Kitchen

  1. Burrata might be the little white dress of the alfresco dining season. It’s an exquisite explosion of flavor on its own as well as a creamy, textured contrast to spring and summer’s fresh produce. Try it with grilled peaches and balsamic vinegar, drizzle it with lemon and olive oil and serve it alongside a crusty loaf of pain de levain, or spoon it atop a salad of shaved radishes and asparagus.
  2. Savory Tarts. There’s very little we don’t enjoy piled onto a light, flaky, buttery tart crust. This May and June, we’re trying variations on spring peas and pancetta, burrata and arugula, and mushrooms, mushrooms and more mushrooms. The secret to keeping the process elegant yet efficient: puff pastry. Although the ingredients are simple (flour, water, salt, and so much butter), making puff pastry at home can be a time intensive process. So go ahead and buy the store-bought dough. If you cover it in caramelized onions and bacon, we promise, no one will notice!
  3. Embrace the sea. From briny oysters to creamy scallops, the flavors of shellfish and other sea fare can highlight either the bright minerality of young Chardonnay or the textured richness of an older vintage. Plus, dishes like seared scallops, shrimp scampi or this butter-broiled lobster tail are often surprisingly low-maintenance menu options.

Even Chef Trevor's thyme-infused Butter Basted Halibut and Sesame Kale Salad has a modest prep time.

We love how the halibut’s mild, sweet flavors harmonize with the bright fruit and creamy texture of the 2014 Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay, Napa Valley.

Enjoy the full recipe.

Short on dessert ideas?

We like to keep it simple, with a salty aged blue cheese, a drizzle of honey and a glass of golden-hued 2010 Dolce, Napa Valley.

Whether you're planning a beachside barbecue with four generations or a simple, refined supper for two (preferably beneath a full moon), cheers to a season spent getting outside!

Click Here to Learn more about the Chardonnays we grow and make in the Napa Valley and Russian River Valley.

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