Rhonda Wood, winemaker at Wood Family Vineyards, is a charismatic person which influences the entire winery. From high in the sky to down to earth wines!! Yes Rhonda Wood, winemaker/owner of Wood Family Vineyards used to fly planes (US Airways) but now can be found in the vineyards tending vines. She and husband Michael (with their two sons), have a winery in eastern Livermore. Rhonda started making wine in 1996. Besides sourcing wine on their property (Merlot), they have 17 specific vineyards which are manicured to their specifications throughout Livermore’s ideal climate. Rhonda and the family winery are small in comparison to some of Livermore’s known name wineries, but have been regarded for years as one of the top quality wine producers.
Pulled from the cellar the last two bottles of Wood Family Vineyards 2018 Para Mas Amigas Chardonnay, Gold Medal Winner from SF Chronicle Wine Competition in 2019. This wine burst with lemon and pear, followed by butterscotch and as Rhonda Wood states “crackerjack flavors”. Not an over the top buttery Chardonnay like Rombauer, but just enough to provide a buttery caramel and texture in the mouth. First on the eyes, a golden hue and medium viscosity is obvious. On the nose and palate, the wine has lingering tropical fruits, peach and pear on the palate. A portion under goes 100% secondary malolactic fermentation, but allows a final mix, to allow old world and new world Chardonnay to coexist in harmony. In a recent conversation, Rhonda stated she blended her Chardonnay from both “tightly grained barrels and loosely grained barrels” into the final production wine.
The Food and Wine Pairing
For the meal this evening was a baked Swiss cheese chicken recipe. It consists of chicken breasts covered with Swiss cheese, a soup and wine mixture, then topped off with croutons and butter. Accompanied with oven roasted Cauliflower (olive oil, unsalted butter, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper) and smashed Yukon Gold potatoes. A delicious food pairing with one of my all-time favorite Chardonnay from Wood Family Vineyards.