Staggs Leap Cellars “Karia”Chardonnay Review

The first time I had Karia by Staggs Leap I was at one of my favorite ramen restaurants here in DC, Chaplins.  They have incredible ramen soups and oddly enough a decent wine selection.  Between the High Flyer/Roller (I can’t remember which) Petite Sirah, the Decoy red blend and the “Karia” chardonnay from Staggs Leap Cellars, I was in heaven.  I was always excited to have the spicy ramen with the chardonnay so one day I decided to buy a bottle and bring it home.  That’s when it changed on me.

Staggs Leap Cellars Karia Chardonnay

The bottle I bought (oddly enough at Costco, even though they don’t carry it anymore) is not the one featured above.  I was drinking it and it had this really weird oaky taste to it that I hadn’t noticed at the restaurant.  I liked it and it was ok, but it wasn’t amazing.  I don’t like to waste wine, especially when you spend more than $20 for the bottle, so I set it aside while I cooked and then decided to drink again with dinner.  That was the trick.

This is not a drink alone wine.  It needs food and it needs spice in order for you to enjoy it.  Unless you’ve already been drinking or you have a thick, rich and heavy food, or a creamy cheese to go with it, don’t drink it.  For a big wine like this, you need big food.  If you don’t have the big flavors and heavy cheeses like an alfredo sauce, don’t waste this wine.

I do like this wine, I actually like it enough that when I was in Napa the other week visiting a bunch of vineyards on silverado trail, we passed this vineyard and I made everyone stop so we could do a tasting.  I also bought a half case.  The bottle above is one of the ones from when we did the tasting at the vineyards.  I also bought a couple of their other varietals so I’m excited to drink and review them for you as well.

Overall there are other chardonnays at this price point that I would buy above Karia from Staggs Leap.  It just doesn’t drink well unless you have big foods to go with it.  If I’m having company over or planning a big meal with big flavors, a ton of spice or heavy sauces, I would absolutely buy this wine because it is a perfect match.  If you’ve tried this one, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

staggs leap winery

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