There’s a lot of chatter about how out of favour Chardonnay has become, and I’m reminded in all this of the difference between fashion and style. Good wines will always find an audience, even if the size of that audience fluctuates based on what’s hot at any given time. The focus must remain on wines that draw out the best of their underlying fruit, and which retain an authenticity of style that transcends the fashionable buzz of the day. I can only speak for myself, of course, but the truth underlying each wine is what I crave most each time I open a bottle, and what disappoints me the most when it is absent.
I mention all this because the wine in front of me defies a few trends. As a fairly worked Chardonnay, it goes contrary to the trend towards “Chablis style” Chardonnay wines that, marketing material would have one believe, are the true antidote to a decade of flabby, butterscotch monsters. To the wine itself: the nose is pleasingly complex, with curious crushed leaf notes alongside white and yellow stonefruit, almond meal, Weet-Bix and vanilla. It all comes together really well, and seems to smell of itself rather than as a collection of components.
The palate is powerful and shapely, with especially notable intensity of flavour. On entry, immediate peaches and cream flavour, along with slightly rough acidity and a savoury almond note that runs the length of the palate. The middle plate evolves some further fruit sweetness and a bit of caramel delight, too. Mouthfeel is rounded and generous. It’s here that things threaten to become slightly simple, because of the dominance of the fruit character (verging on pineapple) and the influence of some winemaking choices. The after palate, though, draws in a whole bunch of baked goods to add to the flavour profile, and this tempers the still-sweet fruit to a satisfactory extent. The finish is beautifully nutty and long.
Exceptional Chardonnay drinking well right now. You can keep your faux Chablis.