Interesting wine, this one. Compared to the Alain Chavy and Giaconda Chardonnays I had the other day, this is a much funkier, more discordant wine. So that’s three out of three; three Chardonnays with strikingly different fruit flavour profiles, leading to three completely different wines. This is as it should be; what becomes interesting now is how (or indeed whether) one pegs the wines at different levels of quality.
Certainly, this lacks a little in the conventional quality stakes; it’s moderately intense, there’s probably a bit too much sulfur to consider its presence a stylistic conceit, its flavours tumble over each other and collide inelegantly. And yet it’s quite magnetic in its chaotic fashion, and with each sip I become more interested in what it will tell me, in how it will disintegrate and recombine, and whether or not I’ll love it or feel repelled.
The aroma combines lean oak spice with sulfur, vanilla, clumsy bubblegum notes and an amalgam of citrus and bruised yellow peach. It’s hot and mealy and heady in turn, and although I can’t honestly describe it as pretty or luxurious — it’s not that sort of wine — its effect on me is consistent: I just keep wanting to smell it over and over again.
The palate shows a more straightforward character with juicy peach fruit taking centre stage. It’s a bit hot, perhaps, and the level of spicy oak may challenge some drinkers’ feel for ideal balance. As with the nose, however, there’s a magnetism to its character that cuts through what is a relatively dissonant flavour profile and, on some level, brings an odd coherence to the style. The middle palate comes closest to the sense of luxe that many Chardonnay drinkers will value, but it’s fleeting and almost ironic in its transition to a much more sculpted, slightly bitter after palate and finish. A lovely mealy texture is surely a highlight.