A slut of a grape!· Blog, Written Wine Reviews
May 26th, 2011 | By Jayson Bryant | Category: Blog, Written Wine Reviews
Judgement is upon us. Chardonnay Day is being celebrated across the globe, but we, here in New Zealand, celebrate it before anyone else, Just like the new millenium.
Love it or hate it, chardonnay’s name has been tainted by slutty teenage mothers calling their children it, by Kath and Kim’s ‘Cardonnay’. In fact it should sue, for slander, all those haters and people that give it bad press.
I’m a card carrying member of the BBC or Bring Back Chardonnay party. I’ve got lifetime membership, and i won’t waiver in my loyalty, unlike the Pinot Gris fair weather friends. You can take your cash cow Pinot Gris, and i’ll raise you a Chablis, no, I’ll raise you a Chardonnay from any part of New Zealand and in a blind taste, I’ll clean the green hands down!
Forget the Chardonnay of the ’80′s, New Zealand now understands what they are making. Wineries understand what it takes to make great wine, they understand their vineyards, they grape, the physiology, chemistry, but most importantly, they understand their art and craft.
Chardonnay is still the most most planted vine in New Zealand, and although the bulk of this is crafted into sparkling wine, it doesn’t undermine the importance of this once noble grape.
So take off your blinkers, open your laughing gear and get stuck into some some diverse styles of Chardonnay.
So on that note, I have just tasted 4 Chardonnay’s.
Forrest Estate Chardonnay 2008 Marlborough
Scottish oak cake biscuits and lemon meringue pie capped with toasty oak ooze from the glass. The palate is initially tricked into thinking that the wine is quite linear, then the cinnamon and nutmeg characters kick in. Full bodied, yet stylish, but a little too hot at the end for me and is slightly awkward and angular. Good wine when matched with food, ie something hearty.
John Forrest Collection Chardonnay 2006 Marlborough
The ultimate expression from the John Forrest Collection. The 2006 is the latest release and all the fruit is from the Wairau Valley. Think citrus and stone fruit salad and you have an idea that this wine is going to deliver. Full of power and structure, this wine is really about harmony. The layered fruit is blessed with warm brioche and cream on the nose and the palate continues this them.
Marlborough can produce good chardonnay, it’s not a one trick pony. The wine is full, rich, and somewhat big, but with subtlety, and despite its 14% alcohol, is in balance. My overall impression is it really needs food. Ideally matched with roast chicken with rich gravy.
Greystone Chardonnay 2009 Waipara
From the Clay soils of Block 2, a flat block which overlooks the Omihi Stream, the grapes are all estate grown. The grapefruit aromatics simply flow over the edge of the glass. Mix that with lime, peach and hint of nectarine and you have what this wine is all about. The palate is rich, with ripe fruit and a cream/chalkiness. The finish is long and minerally.
Muddy Water Chardonnay 2009 Waipara
Now owned by Greystone Vineyard, the vines are farmed organically and set on the slopes of the Teviotdale Hills. The name Muddy Water direct translation from the Maori place-name Waipara (Wai – water Para – mud or sediment).
Clean citrus fruit and cashew nuts make for an interesting nose, the aromatics are subtle at first, but after an hour they hit their stride. The smooth, if not a tad too hot from the alcohol, palate leads from citrus through to cream and crushed rock . The finish creamy and long, with a lingering sense of fruit sweetness.