I had dinner with Barbara at Chez Panisse last night, and we shared the famous goat cheese salad for our first course. I ordered a bottle of the 2014 El Novillero Chardonnay and it was a perfect fit.
Although we technically ‘buy’ the grapes from the Sangiacomo Family, the vineyard is owned by Sandy and Nancy Donnell, who are partners with the Sangiacomo Family. Moreover, Sandy Donnell was Alice Waters’ college roommate, and her family backed Chez Panisse financially when it began in 1971.
Alice Waters was there last night, and she stopped by to visit with Barbara and me for an hour or so. I gave her a glass of the wine, and she emphatically stated that she thought it might be the single best California Chardonnay she had ever tasted. I think it’s certainly one of the best.