May 23 is National Chardonnay Day. Or it falls on May 20 or May 22, according to some, depending, I suppose, on how much chardonnay they’ve had.

For the untutored, chardonnay is a green-skinned grape that produces a white wine. The variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of France, but is now grown everywhere. For new and developing wine regions, planting chardonnay is an easy entry into the international wine market.

It is the most ubiquitous grape there is and, indeed, many call it the most popular wine on earth. There is Old World chardonnay (Europe) and New World (California, Canada, Chile and Tasmania), depending on the region, but it is a dry wine, and the taste ranges from buttery to apple, pear, pineapple, papaya, citrus and melon. It pairs well with poultry, pork, seafood and heavy cream-based dishes. That’s when everything goes as planned.

Chardonnay encountered a substantial PR crisis when enthusiastic California mass market wine producers over-oaked it. Oaking refers to aging a wine in oak casks, something wine growers discovered chardonnay did pretty well. The en masse practice has purportedly stopped, and if you see “un-oaked” on the label, that’s what they’re talking about. If you prefer your wine to taste like vanilla and wood, then disregard.

The wine should be served chilled and lasts for several days in the refrigerator. It remains a favorite with females who believe there’s a scant 120 calories in a glass — that’s for five ounces, or about a half-cup. The women I know aren’t stopping there.

I personally don’t care for chardonnay and have rarely met one I liked, which brings me to my favorite line: “She went down like a cheap chardonnay.”

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate.  She can be reached at

Avec Souci Garden Tour

This event went down beautifully, attracting a Sunday afternoon crowd for days. Local gardens belonging to Linda Kidd and Al Mallett, Richard Howes and Ken Douet, Stephanie Day, and Emily Hamner and Kevin Breaux were open to the public with proceeds benefiting charity. “I love entertaining and having people over,” said River Ranch hostess Kidd. “And I love doing all my containers, mixing up the plants.” She got her wish with a line out the door, while others were treated to Day’s professionally-manicured foursome of lilies, foxtail ferns, bee-loving blue salvia and more, courtesy of gardening guru Perry Stelly. This year funds will go to the Desormeaux Foundation, Dreams Come True, Lafayette Parish Special Olympics, St. Bernadette Community Clinic and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation.

Ladies Who Lunch

Acadiana Outreach held its fundraising event, Ladies Who Lunch, hosted by City Club at River Ranch. Some 100 ticket holders packed the ballroom for socializing and a silent auction with raffle prizes to make anyone proud. “We only have two events per year," said chairwoman and fundraising director Nancy Faucett. “It’s a very generous turnout, over $3,000 in raffle prizes thanks to local businesses.” Big 102.1’s Renee Revett spoke on the subject of “Home,” spokeswoman Alexandra Culotta said how grateful Outreach was to its donors and guests for their efforts to curtail homelessness, and The Advocate was made to feel more than at home as well. The Outreach Center provides individuals and families with the resources they need to secure a second chance at life.

Changing of the Guard

The Lafayette Garden Club installed new officers at their spring luncheon, hosted by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni House. Taking the helm as president will be Babette Werner, also 2019 Woman of the Year; Vice President Linda Demanade, Historian Cindy Hamilton and Treasurer Brittany Pitrucha. Also serving: Kathy Van Ness, Linda Broussard, Jean Bonneau, Joy Hargrave, Cecille Revels and President-elect Anita Petitjean.

Then & Now

Surely this is what heaven sounds like. Chorale Acadienne gave its final performance of the 2018-2019 season at St. Pius Catholic Church. Based on the psalms sung by the Hebrew pilgrims as they ascended the temple steps in Jerusalem, it was the first performance of "Songs of Ascent" by Shawn Kirchner in Louisiana. "We're singing from PDFs," said founding member May Waggoner. "The manuscript hasn't been printed yet." Paying rapt attention to the suite for chorus, strings and harp were soloists Paul Baker and Elise Baldwin, co-artistic director Rusty Roden, Chorale President Nanette Rabelais and aficionados Gordon Brooks, Linda Kidd and Jeanne and Louis Cornay. The concert was dedicated to victims of synagogue shootings and acts of violence.