Sipping with Grace: Firefly Ridge Chardonnay with a charcuterie board

The perfect wine for before your Valentine’s Day meal



This is the Firefly Ridge Chardonnay and the charcuterie board.

JARED GRACE, Evergreen columnist

Firefly Ridge’s 2020 Chardonnay has notes of butter, oak, vanilla and citrus with hints of pear and green apple. This wine has a full body, containing 100% Chardonnay grapes with 13.5% alcohol.

This wine is refreshingly clean and bright, with an acidity that invigorates your palate with tropical flavors and aromas. Chardonnay can be aged in either new oak barrels or plastic/steel tanks. This Chardonnay is oaked, giving the wine a very savory mouthfeel and notes of vanilla, oak and butter.

This is the contents of the board, assembled for consumption.

I paired this wine with a spattering of sweet, savory and fatty items that I felt would pair well with the semi-dry and acidic wine. The charcuterie board included potato bread mini-loaves, sweet apricot jam, pancetta, Brie cheese, strawberries and Castelvetrano olives.

The apricot jam and the strawberries are very sweet and pair perfectly with the buttery profile of this wine. The Castelvetrano olives have a very buttery sweet taste that ties in the sweetness of the apricot jam and strawberries perfectly.

Next, the Brie takes the buttery taste of the olives and adds a creamy texture, making the mouthfeel more full. This “full” texture can be compared perfectly to a full-bodied wine, which fills your tastebuds and mouth completely.

Finally, the fattiness of the pancetta mitigates what is left of the astringency, giving rise to the grape taste and making the dish taste more satisfying. 

I used potato bread instead of crackers because I wanted to toast them with olive oil and garlic to give the bread its own acidity. This balances out the minimal sweetness of the wine with the sweetness I was adding in the pairing.

If there is anything else I could recommend for this pairing, it is candied pecans. I wasn’t able to find any on short notice, but candied pecans are very easy to make, and the mix of the cinnamon and nutty pecan with the sweet and savory charcuterie board would work great.

To consume this wine at its best, I recommend opening it for around five minutes and chilling it to 50–55 degrees before serving.

Winery: Firefly Ridge

Varietal: Chardonnay

Vintage: 2020

Locations: Huntington Beach, California

Price: $9–12

Pairing: Valentine’s Charcuterie Board

I would like to emphasize that this column is not a review; my purpose for writing this series is to provide as much information about a wine as I can so that you can find your niche.

If you would like to inquire about anything I have talked about in these columns or recommend wines for me to pair in the future email me at [email protected]

Drink up!