Cost: Average price $23.99
Where buy now: Byerly's Ridgedale
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay
Region: Russian River Valley in Sonoma, California
The Fritz Chardonnay
Golden glowing in my glass
Lemony smooth love
This wine is so delightful that it made me write a haiku. Remember writing haikus in school? I loved it. What a great exercise to tell a story within a concise 5/7/5 phrasing. I believe the haiku once was the Japanese equivalent to Twitter.
I could wax on and on about this but instead, let me introduce you to one of my favorite wines. First, a disclosure: I’m not a huge Chardonnay drinker. Perhaps this is why I hold this special wine so near and dear to my heart. Second, I don’t know ONE person who doesn’t love this wine. I'd even go so far as to say that this wine was the impetus to start this whole Savvy Lush endeavor!
Flashback almost three years ago, I was perusing the St. Anthony Village Municipal's (aka "The Muni" or "SAV") aisles when I saw wine sale signs proclaiming, “Only store in Minnesota who has this wine!”. (Insert car tire screech sound effect.) Hmmmm… $14. Go out of my $10 comfort zone, and for what? A bottle of *gasp* Chardonnay? Hey, you gots to roll the dice sometimes, folks.
That night will forever go down in history as "The evening I fell in love with Fritz".
What did I fall in love with? This is a superlatively balanced Chardonnay: not too citric, not too oaky, not too buttery, but a solid bit of all three! Aromas of lemon zest, hints of guava, and the a minor touch of vanilla keeps this wine smooth and supple whilst magic carpeting your ass to Happy. Where is "Happy"? I don't know, but when you're already floating on a magic carpet, and you've got Fritz in tow, it's always around the bend. Oh, and it never hurts to throw Javier Bardem in there somewhere.
I rushed out the next day, bought another couple bottles, and took one to a dinner party that night. My friends loved it so much, the host called a week later asking about it. Not long after, I bought another bottle and took it to yet another dinner party. They fell similarly smitten, and called up the next day to ask where I purchased it. In fact, they loved it so much, they bought a whole damn case of it! The REAL coup de tat was with crab legs on my b-day. I have trouble discussing that experience without fits of nostalgic tears. Salty, buttery tears.
And so, this love affair continued for a few months, until one day, The SAV Muni sold out of it. I found out from the friends who bought a case, and who wisely bought the remaining bottles. Even though they brought us a bottle, it seemed like the end of an era. (BTW, that bottle sat in the fridge gathering ogling glances for almost two years! That is the longest a bottle has sat in my house.)
A wine this good surely would show up at some other fine spirit peddling establishment, right? But alas, I could never find it. Finally,curiosity and pure longing prompted me to contact the winery. They sent me to the distributor. The distributor told me about a couple restaurants that _may_ be serving it. Ugh, no. This is not working for me. So, I turned to the social media airwaves, calling upon the [cyber] Wine Gods for anyone local to please, please stock the Fritz Chardonnay! My pleading call to action was answered by Byerly’s in both Ridgedale and Eagan.
Three years later this wine runs for $23.99, but it is sooooo worth it. I’ve gathered that there's going to be a slight shortage of premium California wines from this vintage. Rodney from Byerly’s Ridgedale made me privy to this article: http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/46591/Wine Spectator
The evil trifecta of lackluster crops, depleted vines and increased consumption will likely result in increased prices. In the meantime, Byerly’s Ridgedale stocked up so there is Fritz Chardonnay for everyone to enjoy! Pick up a couple bottles. Enjoy one now and save one. Head down to Sea Salt Eatery in Minnehaha Falls Park with a bottle in tow. For a mere $5 corkage fee, sip it alongside some fish tacos and a crab cake sammie, or perhaps some salmon (the other pink meat).
Happy carpet riding, indeed.