May’s featured wine comes to us via Saddleback Cellars, a producer and winemaker with quite a following here in West Michigan! Full, textured Chardonnay makes for a perfect transition to spring, as it retains it’s brightness and fruit to welcome the warmer weather, but remains full-bodied and comforting for the colder days we still experience.

A classic oaked Chardonnay, the Saddleback has warm spice notes of cinnamon, vanilla and toast. Sweet, yellow apples and lemon meringue round out the palate of a wine that is flexible with many types of food, or delicious on its own!

Saddleback Cellars and Nils Venge:

Kirk Venge keeps no secrets about his love for West Michigan, and that love is reciprocated! Kirk manages the Venge Family Estate, founded by his father in 1976, but he also brought Saddleback to the city of Grand Rapids.

Kirk’s father, Nils, rocketed to fame when he was the first American winemaker to be awarded 100 pts from Robert Parker’s Wine advocate with the 1985 vintage of Groth Cabernet Sauvignon. After leaving Groth to strike out on his own, Nils has developed many wineries and projects throughout the wine world, and one of those is Saddleback Cellars.

What it lacks in size Saddleback makes up for in power, coming to be known for rich, powerful wines produced from their 14.8 acres of vines. Settled in at the end of Money Road at Napa Valley, great care is taken as every Saddleback wine is hand-harvested and vinified on-site, so that the Venge’s can pay close attention to every step of the winemaking process. They produce several bottlings, including one named for the family dog, Chloe. Their love of nature and carefree approach to life shines through the wines, as each glass expresses the unique character of the Saddleback property and the Venge family.

What to eat at Reserve with the Saddleback:

Ramp Carbonara – The richness of the Chardonnay from Saddleback will be a perfect pairing with the intensity of the Carbonara, and the acidity and fresh fruits will contrast nicely with the savory baconlardons.