Bright chardonnay a match for buttery corn

Corner 103 2019 Sonoma Carneros Chardonnay ($40), our wine of the week, is a powerhouse of flavor, with a cornucopia of upfront fruit buoyed by a crisp, citrusy finish. Aromas suggest sweet pears, pineapple and baked apples. On the palate, flavors mirror aromas and then blossom into subtle hints of white nectarine, white peach and pomelo. There is a whisper of spice, too, a sultry bass note suggestive of good white pepper.

The wine is perfectly balanced and generous. Lovers of the varietal will be delighted.

At the table, the wine soars with certain foods, especially shellfish such as scallops and grilled oysters with a buttery barbecue sauce. It is excellent with quiche, wild Pacific king salmon and Indian butter chicken.

Come cool weather, you’ll enjoy it with sweet potatoes and winter squash. Sweet potato gnocchi and winter squash gratin encourage the wine to blossom into its full self. One of my favorite appetizers is sliced pineapple — white if I can find it — cut into bite-size wedges and seasoned generously with black pepper and Maldon salt; this wine is a lovely quaffer alongside.

This elegant chardonnay is also excellent with all manner of corn, from grits and polenta to corn salads, corn puddings and corn soups. It is extraordinary with corn and salmon chowder.

Because of the wine’s price, it is tempting to lean toward refined dishes, but it is not necessary. Corn on the cob is a great match. In this version, butter spiked with peppercorns engages the wine beautifully and the wine, in turn, keeps it all lively with its pretty acid.

Grilled Corn with Pepper Butter

Makes 4 to 6 servings

½ cup (1 stick) butter, preferably local

1 teaspoon crushed white peppercorns

1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns

1 teaspoon crushed Szechuan peppercorns

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 very fresh ears of corn, shucked

Melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. When it is melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the peppercorns and salt. Set aside and keep warm.

Grill the corn over a charcoal fire or on a stovetop grill. When it is done, transfer it to a plate and use a pastry brush to slather the butter all over both ears.

Enjoy right away, with plenty of napkins alongside.

Leftover butter, covered and refrigerated, will keep for at least a couple of weeks.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books, including “The Good Cook’s Book of Salt & Pepper,” the source of today’s recipe. Email her at

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