Tyler Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard
Vasse Felix Chardonnay Heytesbury
Welcome to our newest series, The Somm Set. Each month we’ll be sitting down with a guest sommelier and uncovering their guilty pleasures, cellar staples, and everything in between! Follow as they hand-select their favorites from our warehouse, giving you the inside scoop on cellar must-haves!
This month on The Somm Set, we’re excited to feature Shakera Jones. Join us as we explore everything from her passion for wine, favorite wine and food pairing, and her newest endeavors.
This week from Shakera Jones:
My love for the tastes, smells, and texture of the global culinary landscape, along with my love of history, made my journey into wine quite natural. While I did not grow up with wine on the table, the stories, the community, and the joy every bottle sparks have made it a mainstay in my life.
My fellow wine lovers,
My name is Shakera Jones and I could not be more excited to be the featured Sommelier for Benchmark Wine Group this month, as I share with you a selection of some of my favorite wines from some of my favorite places and grapes. I love acid, body, complexity, and the red wines of Spain. My love of food will show throughout this journey. I fundamentally believe wine is best enjoyed with food and friends and that there's a glass for every palate. No matter how many grapes or styles you have tried, there is always more out there waiting for you to taste. You can count on me to share quite a few unconventional pairings, and I encourage you to be adventurous and try a few!
Chardonnay and Riesling are two of my favorite grapes on the planet. While these grapes retain their core characteristics, I am always blown away by how vastly different the expressions can be depending on where it is grown and the decisions made in the winemaking process. The white wines of Burgundy will always be my favorite expressions of Chardonnay. The wines have linear acid with rounded edges that are incredibly palate-pleasing—the weight of these wines combined with bright acidity work well with so many foods. It is extremely versatile, from fresh seafood ceviches to creamy pasta dishes to a host of proteins. To this day, many people have yet to fully embrace the beauty and range of New World Chardonnay. I have found these wines to be beautifully complex, restrained, and balanced.
Riesling, like Chardonnay, has been a misunderstood grape. Its ability to produce both bone dry and sweet wines has both a gift and a curse. As an acid lover, these wines are heavenly and are producing outstanding expressions all over the world. Germany is still ( rightfully so, in my opinion) the gold standard. The versatility allows for everyday pairings that push the boundaries and scope of how and why food and wine pairings work. Global cuisines like Thai and Vietnamese cuisines can pair really well with Riesling. I will always throw a ringer or two in the mix. In this case, Alsatian Gewurztraminer and Txakoli from Spain are great wines to taste and enjoy as either a contrast or compliment to the other Chardonnay and Riesling.
Check out all the wines mentioned below!