How to Think Outside the Glass of Chardonnay

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,501
    Andrew Stover, Wine Director at OYA Restaurant & Lounge in Washington, DC shares his ideas on thinking outside of the glass of chardonnay.

    Andrew Stover

    Andrew Stover, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, moved to Washington, DC to attend The George Washington University with a focus in Marketing/Tourism & Hospitality Management. Stover also holds a Sommelier Diploma from the International Sommelier Guild and a Certified Specialist of Wine Certification from the Society of Wine Educators.

    Stover began his foray into wine by visiting local Virginia vineyards. Over the last 8 years, his love of wine has become an obsession and he has combined his love for travel and food by visiting wine regions in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, France, Canada and all over the US.

    Stover worked 2 years in the tasting room at Breaux Vineyards in Hillsboro, Virginia conducting wine tastings and tours in 2000-2002. He has consulted with Pintail Yachts in Annapolis on wine dinner cruises and conducts staff wine trainings with La Tasca Spanish Tapas Restaurant. In March of 2006, Stover was hired on as Wine Director and Sommelier for OYA Restaurant & Lounge, where he has revamped the entire wine program making it more food friendly and consumer driven.

    Stover has served 4 years on the Board of Directors for the Washington Area Concierge Association and 3 years as Chair of their annual Charity Gala: Bubbles on the Potomac, which is a sparkling wine tasting event aboard the Odyssey.

    Stover is also an accomplished writer and has published wine articles for Where Magazine, the Howard County Business Monthly and the Complete Event and Meeting Planner, a guide for local event and meeting planners, with tips on wine and food pairings for events. He also publishes a wine blog,

    Most recently, Stover has been hired to teach a food and wine pairing seminar at The George Washington University as part of the Event Management Certificate Program in the GW School of Business.

    Andrew: Hi, I am Andrew from OYA Restaurant & Lounge in Washington DC and today we are discussing tips from a sommelier. In this clip I am going to be discussing with you, how to think outside the glass of Chardonnay. Don t get me wrong. I really love the great glass of Chardonnay, specifically White Burgundy that is Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France. I am not a big fan of over-oaked, oak bomb Chardonnays that you tend to find from California. Especially lower end California Chardonnays. They are just not that exciting and they are not very good with food.

    So today, I wanted to show you a couple of very interesting, eclectic wines that will help you think outside the glass of Chardonnay. So, in your next trip to the store or your trip to a restaurant, you may want to try to find one of these wines. First up, is Torrontes. Torrontes is a White Grade from Argentina. Actually it originated in Spain, but made its way to Argentina with Spanish immigrates. It makes a very fresh, lively White Wine with lots of floral, white lilies, violet flavors. It s a very interesting wine and it s definitely wonderful on a hot summer day.

    Another very exciting white varietal right now, Viogner. Viogner hails from Rhone Valley of France and here we have a Viogner from the Ctes du Rhne. Also we are finding lots of Viogner being grown on the East Coast of the United States. This one here being from Virginia. What makes it so exciting; it s another very aromatic White Wine. Think tropical fruit, honeysuckle, perfumed aromas. It also tends to be a full-bodied wine, so people that enjoy a nice class of full-bodied Chardonnay will also enjoy a glass of full-bodied Viogner.

    One note, I usually tell my guests here in the restaurant to steer clear of California Viogner because they are often seem a little sweet, very fruity whereas the French and most of the East Coast versions are quite as sweet and fruity. Another White Wine I really enjoy is Chenin Blanc and I have two here one from South Africa. South Africa is quite well known for its Chenin Blanc and also from the Loire Valley of France. Very distinct styles generally with the South African version being very light, very crisp, almost like a Sauvignon Blanc, think grassy, lemon citrus very crisp, great for salads, great for sea food whereas the Loire Valley tend to be a little bit heavier. Again it depends on the winery, it depends on the year and the vintage, but Chenin Blanc from the Loire tends to be a little more minerally, you also find more stone fruit flavors and sometimes there Will be a hint of sweetness. Here we have two bottles of Pinot Grin, almost like Pinot Grigio, just slightly different style. This one is from Alsace in France and this is from the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Both are very fresh, crisp whites, except that usually the Alsatian versions from France tend to be a little more on the full-bodied but look for right tropical fruit flavors apricots, peaches, possibly a little bit of a lime zests, a little bit of citrus and often -- again depending on the year, there can be a of sweetness. But these are amazing wines that are definitely worth checking out.

    And now, two wines from Spain. Now these are very different wines but I wanted to show them at the same time as -- a lot of press and media attention has been focused on Spanish wine. Spanish wines are getting increasingly better, the prices are relatively reasonable and there s a lot of very exciting wines coming out of Spain. One specific great varietal that s bears mention Albarino. Albarino comes from the Atlantic coast, the West Coast of Spain in a region known as Galicia, and Albarino is a wonderful wine for sea food. Think tropical fruit flavors, banana, passion fruit, often and sometimes a stone fruit flavor. It tends to either be sort of a lighter wine, and also can be very medium, almost full-bodied. Again it depends on the winery and it depends on the year. This one happens to be more on the full-bodied side. It s one is my favorites.

    Now, this next wine over here comes from the Basque region of Spain, and it is a very interesting wine known as Txakolina. Txakolina is a style of wine that is made from native grapes grown in the Basque region. This particular wine is called Chermont and it contains Petite Manseng, Gros Manseng, and Hondarribi Zuri which is another strange native grape grown in the Basque region. I love this wine with Sushi. I think it s the ultimate sushi Wine, great with other sea food. It s light, fresh, crisp, that has a lemon citrus zest going on and it has a lot mineral notes as well. There s a slight bit of effervescence. Not a sparkling wine by any means but just a little bit of tingle on your tongue.

    Here is another exciting wine varietal that s getting a lot of press. This is from Austria. This is Gruner Veltliner, say it, Gruner Veltliner it s a native grape to Austria and it comes in a wide variety of styles. You can have it very fresh, crisp, light almost like Pinot Grigio style whereas there are also more medium to full-bodied styles, sometimes a little peppery. This one here is from a winery called Huber, and it s a very clean, fresh wine. It s fairly fruity, tropical fruit, peaches, apricots and it s wonderful with sea foodLast but not least, I did want to show you a bottle of Gewrztraminer. That s another tongue twister. Gewrztraminer is a German varietal. Although this bottle happens to be from New Zealand. You can find Gewrztraminer grown in France, in Alsace, of course, in Germany and a couple other parts of the world. They are doing very well with it. New Zealand and some parts of California, the Mendocino county, specifically. Gewrztraminer is all about spice. It s a very spicy, aromatic grape varietal, think leachy fruit, rose petals, a sweet, like almost like a Cinnamon spice aroma and they tend to sometimes have a little bit of sweetness. So they are great with spicy cuisine like Thai or Indian. I hope you have enjoyed some of my thoughts on how to think outside the glass of Chardonnay but stay tuned because coming up in my next clip, I am going to tell you how to think outside the glass of Cabernet, Merlot.