Our Wine of the Week, Chappellet 2015 Napa Valley Chardonnay ($35) is a classic, a spot-on expression of California’s style with the world’s most popular white varietal.
Fruit flavors — especially white nectarine, white pineapple, custard apple and ripe apricot — are rich and concentrated, with layers of complexity. There’s citrus, too, but it reveals itself in the richness of, say, lemon curd spiked with orange zest, not in a spritz of acid.
The buttery quality expressed in the lemon curd eventually gives way to a heady acidity laced with delicate notes of allspice, cardamom, clove and nutmeg. The finish reverberates with suggestions of crème fraiche and a pleasing brightness that sparkles on the palate like little starbursts.
At the table, you’ll enjoy the wine with everything from roast pork tenderloin glazed with apricot preserves to roasted chicken, winter squash, mild Indian-style chicken curry, savory galettes, veal with mushroom-cream sauce, eggs Benedict and almost anything with fresh corn, from corn on the cob slathered with butter to corn and mussel or salmon chowder.
Given that it is spring, I’ve turned to a favorite match possible only at this time of year, a simple soup of fresh peas that you’ll enjoy hot or chilled with this luscious wine alongside.
Spring Pea Soup
Makes 3 to 4 servings
3 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 small leek, white and palest green part only, washed and thinly sliced
1 potato, about 6 to 8 ounces, peeled and diced
— Kosher salt
— White pepper in a mill
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, or water
3 cups shelled English peas
2 scallions, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoons minced fresh chervil or 1 tablespoon mint, cut into very thin strips
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
— Crème fraiche
Melt the butter in a medium soup pot set over medium-low heat, add the onion and leek, and sauté until limp and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Add the potato and sauté 3 minutes more. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add the broth or water and simmer until the potato is just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the peas and simmer until they are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Using an immersion blender, conventional blender, or food processor, puree the soup and, unless using an immersion blender, return it to the pot. Add enough water to thin the soup so that it is about the thickness of heavy cream and heat through. Stir in the scallions, chervil or mint and the chives, cover the pan, and let steep for 10 minutes.
Taste and correct the seasoning. Ladle into soup plates, top with a dollop of creme fraiche and enjoy right away. The soup is also delicious chilled.
Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Historic homes with holiday events
Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, Santa Rosa. Enjoy a 36-year community tradition on the site of Burbank’s home and working garden. Tour the modest Greek Revival house decked out in old-fashioned holiday finery. See the latest exhibit and shop for Burbank-related items in the Carriage House Museum & Gift Shop. Entry: $2; free for kids. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 5-6. Entrance at corner of Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues, Santa Rosa. (707) 524-5445, lutherburbank.org.
Falkirk Cultural Center, San Rafael. Join Charles Dickens and his family for an evening of Victorian revelry at the 17-room, Queen Anne-style Falkirk mansion built in 1888. Partake in light holiday food and drink as you listen to Dickens read from his works and watch his characters come alive. Meet Father Christmas, play parlor games, dance and sing with the Victorian family. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4. Tickets $10, $7 children, by reservation at (800) 848-3006. 1408 Mission Avenue, San Rafael.
Haas-Lilienthal House, San Francisco. Built in 1886 for wealthy businessman William Hass, this elegant home has gables and a round tower. Fully furnished rooms, mostly with original furnishings, are decorated for the season. Enjoy holiday cheer, a festive buffet, music, a train for tots and a visit from Santa noon-3 p.m. Dec. 6. $15. RSVP required at sfheritage.org/haas-lilienthal-house. 2007 Franklin St., San Francisco.
Shadelands, Walnut Creek. A Holiday Faire is a seasonal tradition at Shadelands’ 1902-built Colonial Revival ranch house. The two-week Faire features dozens of vendors offering hand-crafted items and gifts for sale. Coinciding with the Faire are three-course Victorian tea luncheons; seating’s at 11:30 am and 1:30pm. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily through Dec. 13. Admission is free. Tickets for Victorian tea luncheons, $35. Info and reservations: (925) 935-7871. 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek.
Filoli, Woodside. Designed by Willis Polk and known for its extensive collection of 17th and 18th century English antiques, this charming mansion offers a holiday world of opulent elegance brimming with fresh flowers, greenery and holiday scents. Through Dec. 5, sample specialty foods and shop for trendy women’s clothing. Visit the toy shop, the gingerbread bakery and the Garden Room, where holiday plants and fresh-greenery wreaths are available for purchase. Advance reservations required at filoli.org/holiday-traditions or (650) 364-8300 X508. 86 Cañada Road, Woodside.