Friday, September 24, 2010

quality assessment: two chardonnays

So, I'm doing the same again but with a couple of chardonnays. This time the entry level wine is Australian and the more expensive is French. I chose it this way due to the buying habits of our customers. If they're buying cheaper whites, they tend to go New World. If they splash out, they tend to go Old World. There's a debate as to the reasons for that - several, actually - that I'm not going to get into at the moment. I will say that those who have shouted about the death of French wine for the last two decades will go hoarse long before it's anywhere near the truth.

Winding Road Chardonnay 2009 (South East Australia £8.99)

Green and silver colour - kind of Chablis-like.

Lime citrus and a touch of peach fuzz on the nose. There's also a whiff of cheesiness and something a bit earthy about it all.

Nice acidity on the palate gives it good structure. There a lees-y, oak-chip-y creaminess to it that provides nice mouthfeel. There's something very 'made' about this wine, which is to be expected at the price, but it seems well made. It's not overly oaked and there's no bucket of residual sugar lurking on the finish. It's slightly anonymous, but that is in part because there's little really wrong with it. Which, sadly, makes it boring.


Pouilly-Fuissé "La Frérie" 2006 JP & M Auvigue (£23.49)

I think there's something wrong with the lights in the shop. This looks pretty much the same as the Winding Road, except it's more gold and less silver.

Exotic white stone fruit on the nose with spice and pineapple as well. A wee touch of citrus and vanilla cream rises up towards the end. This wee village in the Macon has become legendary for boasting the sexiest white Burgundies south of the Cote d'Or. Sometimes they're downright slutty. This is rather sexy but isn't showing too much leg.

Delicious on the palate - fleshy, textured fruit with oak influence but never tasting of oak. Rich and filling mouthfeel that delivers pineapple and nectarine with hints of lime on the edge, orange flower water and butter-soaked wild mushrooms that soften to a long, gentle finish. I even detect a bit of minerality underneath all that fruit. Sexy stuff. Roast chicken with a wild mushroom broth would be a nice pairing, so would scallops seared in good butter with a blood orange reduction.

**** 1/2
This is much better that the last time I had it.

Tasted 23/9/2010 at Luvians Bottleshop

These two tastings have been fun and enlightening. Next time I'm going to test the staff blind on the wines and see if they can tell me which is the finer bottle. It's interesting that both the more expensive wines showed their merit. Part of me hoped for the opposite, just to shake things up a bit.

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