Seeking Comfort and Comfort Foods

December - December brings cold, and clouds to the Columbia valley. The chilly overcast weather demands layers of clothing, frequent use of the fireplace and a change of diet. At times like these, I crave my favorite comfort foods. Something which satisfies the mind and senses and lingers longer than usual.

Today was a bit warmer, temperature in the upper 40's, a perfect opportunity for yard work and a chance to clean the grill. I use my gas grill all year long so a cleaning was overdue. After a lot of elbow grease, and other types of grease, my grill was looking pretty good. So good, I thought it was time to grill up some brats! I ran to the store and grabbed some brat buns to do them right.

Just before I pulled the brats off of the grill, I brushed some olive oil over the buns and heated them in the oven for 4 minutes, just long enough to warm them up and slightly toast them. Oh yeah, they looked good.

So, which wine did I pair the brats with? I grabbed a wine full of comfortable familiarity, one which in my mind, evokes a sense of continuity, quality, effort, complexity and ultimately, satisfaction. In other words, a Barnard Griffin 2007 Chardonnay. I've enjoyed Barnard Griffin wines since 1997 and the Chardonnay never disappoints. Rob Griffin, winemaker of Barnard Griffin Winery, is very consistent and quality driven and his wines are reasonably priced.

So, how was the wine already?

The Barnard Griffin 2007 Chardonnay has a lovely pale gold color, nose full of honey and baked bread with a touch of spice, in the mouth there's honey, bread and butter and a touch of ginger. Great mouth feel and balanced from start to finish. The brats were awesome too, what a great food pairing. Bite of Brat followed by drink of Chardonnay, man what a satisfying meal. To properly enjoy this wine, don't serve it too cold. If the wine is pulled out of the fridge, it's too cold. You should let the wine sit for 30 - 60 minutes after you pull it from the fridge to get the best flavor from the wine (about 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you drink).

So what are you waiting for? Go grab some brats and Barnard Griffin Chardonnay and find some comfort and satisfaction this winter. Barnard Griffin Chardonnay is widely available, with just over 14,000 cases in production. I found this bottle at a ridiculous price at one of the local big box stores. If you can't find this wine locally, try to purchase online at


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