A relatively young winery, the Paring brand was established in 2006 and sources the majority of the juice for each bottle from Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley in the Santa Barbara region in California.
Matt Dees, the head winemaker for The Paring, has a natural feel for wine, from dirt to glass.
He has a degree in Soil Science from the University of Vermont and has spent time working for Staglin in Napa Valley and Craggy Range in New Zealand.
Inquisitive and experimental by nature, Matt’s approach to winemaking is grounded in the idea of terroir being of the utmost importance: attuned to the soil, the weather, the climate, and especially the vines, Matt almost seems to be able to communicate with the vineyard itself.
The Paring Chardonnay Review
The consulting winemaker for The Paring, Andy Erickson, is an absolute legend. His most prominent claim to fame is being a former winemaker at Screaming Eagle in California.
He also has a number of his own projects in the works these days, including Leviathan wine.
The Paring Chardonnay is a wine birthed from a labor of detailed, intense aging and winemaking.
The wine is aged in one-third new French oak, one-third stainless steel, and one-third neutral French oak, with one-third of the wine being allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation, which is what lends Chardonnay the buttery, creamy flavor and mouthfeel commonly associated with it.
The wine is gorgeous in the glass, a bright, sunny gold color. The legs form fairly quickly and slowly creep down the side of the glass after a bit of motion in the glass.
The smell of this wine is warm and inviting, boasting notes of vanilla, freshly melted butter, toasted oak, and freshly baked apples.
These aromas are uplifted by notes of lemon zest, cinnamon, and toasted brown sugar. The aromatics are quite intense and offer themselves readily from the glass after just a bit of swirling.
This is a definitively more modern California Chardonnay. It is unctuous, heavy, and dense on the tongue, with a mouth-filling viscosity.
There are flavors of candy apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, candied lemons, fired oak, and charred butter throughout. The flavors linger for quite some time and give the wine an incredibly long finish.
What Does the Paring Chardonnay Pair With?
Meaty fish such as cod or halibut, shrimp, and anything featuring a rich cream sauce (think she-crab soup) work quite well with this bottle in terms of both flavor and texture.
Given how rich this wine is, you could get away with a dessert pairing as well.
I would personally stick to something such as crème Brulee or caramel-topped cheesecake, but this is such a food-friendly option that I strongly encourage you to just open up and have fun with it!
What Wines Are Similar to the Paring Chardonnay?
I would recommend trying other classic California Chardonnay. One of my personal favorites is Jam Cellars Butter Chardonnay, which is another absolute powerhouse of a creamy Chard with plenty of rich, luscious fruit to round it out.
If you would like to try something entirely new, I would recommend trying Viognier, particularly Viognier from Paso Robles.
Viognier tends to boast notes of tropical fruit, honey, flowers, and stone fruit and is a bigger, heavier style of wine that works nicely for fans of this sort of Chardonnay.
This wine is phenomenal. It is a definitively new-world wine produced in a more classic French style.
It is big, rich, and robust, but it does not feel like you are trying to drink a 2×4 slathered-in margarine. If you are even a casual fan of Chardonnay, this one is worth a spin!