2012 GIFFT Chardonnay

The long list of celebrities with their own wine labels seems to be growing at a steady pace. Many of these celebrities including the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Drew Barrymore, Donald Trump, Dave Matthews and Kathie Lee Gifford are turning to the fruit of the vine for their next big project.

After all, wine can mean big business! Americans are spending more on their weekly wine consumption than ever before. According to the Wine Institute, Americans consumed nearly  900 million gallons of wine in 2013 and spent an astounding $37B in sales the same year.

People like a sense of familiarity, so it’s no surprise that these products sell well. However, it begs the question – is it really good quality? Do they truly have a passion for the love and labor involved with creating a great quality wine? Is it all marketing? Is it all hype? Or is it truly a good product worth checking out?

I decided to put one of these new labels to the test. A friend recently suggested that I check out GIFFT wines from Kathie Lee Gifford, so I happily obliged and immediately placed an order online. After all, it’s my job! While I’ve enjoyed watching Gifford over the years, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to her wine venture.  With the first aromas lifting from the glass, I was immediately impressed by the layers of complexity on the nose (tasting notes below). Upon further research, I found out that she collaborated with Scheid Family Vineyards, in Monterey, California on her label. The Scheid Family has a forty year history of making exceptional wine in California and this partnership seems to be a culmination of a shared vision to bring affordable wine that tastes great to your dinner table.

I was also excited to learn that we share a similar philosophy on wine and the way it brings people together. In my opinion, there is simply nothing better than bonding over a glass of wine and a meal with your loved ones.

In a world filled with so much chaos, wine has the innate ability to make us slow down and appreciate the simple things in life. “Wine has a been a huge part of every civilization throughout history. A glass of wine says, ‘Slow down, savor your blessings, enjoy your family and friends, and give thanks for the harvest of life.'” ~ Kathie Lee Gifford

A beautiful hue of pale lemon greets your eyes as you pour this wine into your glass. On the nose, you’ll experience tantalizing aromas of candied lemon peel, Gala apple, pear skin, pineapple and hint of mango. The fruit notes are quickly followed by a kiss of a salinity reminiscent of the scent of waves crashing against a rocky seashore and a touch of sweet spice of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. On the palate, the bright lemon, apple and pineapple flavors are dominant. The wine has a touch of creaminess mid-palate, vibrant acidity and a lingering finish. With an ABV of 12.5%, this Chardonnay is more reminiscint of an Old World Chardonnay. It pairs perfectly with crab & corn chowder. The piercing acidity acted like a soft napkin gently cleansing my palate in between bites and the bright citrus brought out the sweetness in the lump crab. Overall, a nice pairing wine and a great value for $20.

Perfect Pairings: Roast Chicken, Crab Cakes, Lobster Rolls & Chesapeake Chowder