When I taste a Chardonnay nowadays, my mind seems first to go to the style in which it has been made. There seems much more variety within as well as between regions compared to many other varietals. My view is that this stylistic variation is a reflection of how unsettled we are with respect to the grape, and that style is sometimes seen as synonymous with quality (or lack thereof). Ultimately, that’s a distraction that stops us from seeing these wines for what they are.
And yet I do it too and, as I sniffed this wine, I was first most curious to know how worked a style it is. The answer is: pretty worked. The nose is very young-smelling, with pineapple and grapefruit notes in equal measure. underpinned by determinedly funky smells and a lot of oatmeal. The aromas exist in layers at the moment, not intermingling as much as they might, and perhaps will with a bit of time. It’s a vibrant aroma profile, though.
The palate is, initially, overwhelming and unbalanced in its texture. It’s as if a big ball of oatmeal protrudes in the middle palate, rudely dwarfing everything else around it. This feeling never quite goes away, but the wine’s dimensions do balance out with some air, and this allows citrus and light tropical fruit flavours to emerge with the same clarity and crispness seen on the nose. Intensity is decent, especially through the after palate, where citrus flavours are joined by some nice herbal, basil-like notes. Despite the texture being quite worked, the wine isn’t over complex in flavour. Good thrust and aromatics through the finish.
Not entirely convincing, then, but there’s no getting away from the power of that fruit. I wonder what this would be like if it were made in a purer, simpler way?
Ross Hill Wines