Archive for the ‘Chardonnay’ category

Cape Mentelle Chardonnay 2006

March 1, 2009

On a recent trip to Margaret River I’ve been confronted again with the boom of new wineries and cellar doors. Along with the fortunes made in mining, a lot of those places have been there for a while, especially at the northern end of the Wilyabrup area, but this time I suddenly became aware of the scale of developments. In the battle of egos big is the keyword, with oversized buildings, golden statues, water features and the ever compulsory cast iron gates.  To me it all seems unnecessary, especially in an otherwise unspoiled region like Margaret River where less is generally so much more beautiful. The comparison with the region’s Chardonnays is never far away, as the personality of these wines is often expressed through excessive oak, alcohol and lees stirring. Fortunately an increasing number of winemakers moves away from this style, allowing fruit, site and vintage speak for themselves. The Cape Mentelle Chardonnay is a perfect example with lower alcohol, well handled, restrained use of oak, and fresh, clean and crisp fruit. Sure, this cool vintage has helped to craft a leaner wine, although I also believe in a well chosen approach to style. It has all resulted in a clear, light straw coloured wine with aromas of lemon, grapefruit, white peach, melon and subtle notes of vanilla, nutty and spicy oak preceding detailed and precise flavors that are build on a well balanced base of barrel ferment characters and natural acidity. This wine clearly shows how Australian Chardonnays can still be appealing without showy muscles and weight. 92 points

Source: LVMH  Price: $43  Drink: Now-2012

Web: www.capementelle.com.au

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Joseph Drouhin Chablis 2006

January 28, 2009

img_5231In the category entry-level French Chardonnay, this is another revisit to a wine which quality amazed me last vintage. Again this unoaked Chardonnay shows the usual concoction of lemon, pear, mint and floral aromas recurring on a medium-bodied palate where softly textured fruit is balanced with minerally acid. However, where the 2005 cashed in on the vintage with clear focus, concentration and depth, I would label this edition as solid but less exciting. 87 points

Source: Fine Wine Partners  Price: $45  Drink: Now-2010

Other vintages: 2005

Web: www.drouhin.com

Domaine Leflaive Macon-Verze 2006

January 21, 2009

img_5226I was pleased to find the 2006 edition of this wine at my local liquor shop the other day, as I remember the one from the stellar 2005 vintage as an absolute cracker. After reading the raving (95 points!) review by Wino sapien a few weeks ago, I decided to check things out myself. This light straw coloured wine shows a nose that runs through aromas of citrus, melon and ample stonefruit, all to be found back on a palate where round, somewhat plumb fatness is balanced by mineral-infused purity. There is no doubt that this wine is seriously good, made with integrity, authentic and true to its appellation, but I tend to prefer the leanness of the 2005Don’t get me wrong, this wine is still very good and absolutely worth every cent, it’s just my preference… hence 89 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $49  Drink: Now-2011

Web: www.leflaive.fr

Other vintages: 2005

Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rose 1998

November 15, 2008

Last week I got an unexpected invitation for a Laurent-Perrier tasting hosted by Ludovic de Lageard that I couldn’t resist. A house with a long history and a remarkable chairman in Bernard de Nonancourt, ups, downs but above all some truly magnificent wines. Freshness and fruitiness are near New World characteristics with  oxidation avoided at all cost. At an annual production of around 8 million bottles – the third largest in Champagne – this approach has clearly paid off in impeccable pureness of every wine in the range with the majestic Grand Siècle at the pinnacle. This Cuvée Prestige surely can be regarded as the essence of Champagne with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from three different vintages blended in a wine with brilliant elegance, finesse and harmony. However, for me the real star of the tasting was the Alexandra Rosé 1998, a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay so delicate and sophisticated de Lageard decided to start the tasting with it. Pink salmon in the glass with a fine appearance and mousse it shows complexity and depth with scents of orange peel, flowers, cherry, currants, strawberries, dried apricots and hint of controlled oxidation. The palate is all about the indulgently soft, velvety and creamy mouthfeel, with lively fruit and crisp acidity further adding shape. It’s pureness, balance and elegance make this one of the better rosés I’ve had so far. 95 points

Source: MGM Wine Distributions  Price: $400  Drink: Now-2015+

Web: www.laurent-perrier.co.uk

Dom Perignon Oenotheque 1985

November 11, 2008

So Barack Obama has finally claimed victory in what certainly was a historical election. On the 20th of January 2009 he’ll be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America, exactly 24 years after Ronald Reagan started his second term in 1985. What amazes me is how things have changed over this period of time, politically, physically and technologically, testimonies of an ever evolving matter called World. How could an event as this be welcomed better than with a little note on one of the more lustre Champagnes, changed in its own way since it was born in what is described as one of the region’s more elegant and subtle vintages? After 14 years on lees – this 1985 has been disgorged in 1999 – and a further 9 years in bottle, its colour has slowly evolved from the usual pale straw to a deep golden yellow with a fine and persistent bead disclosing its ongoing youthfulness and longevity. The palate is full and voluptuous showing citrus, hazelnuts, yeast, toasted bread, vanilla, mushrooms and earth with an ever present framework of lemony acid creating liveliness, freshness and elegance carrying through to the long finish. Given its extended lees ageing and relatively long time on cork after disgorgement, this wine clearly shows its age and with its current level of freshness I’m glad this hasn’t been kept in the cellar for another 10 years. 94 points 

Source: Cellar   Price: $500  Drink: now-2012

Cullen “Kevin John” Chardonnay 2006

September 3, 2008

Spring is in the air and clear blue skies quickly make me forget about winter. Although, somehow I had to think about the summer of 2005-2006 with its extremely cool temperatures. I’ll never forget the drizzle at Fernhook Falls on New Years Eve. Later in 2006 it turned out the weather had been so cool that Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz grown in the most southern parts of WA had failed to ripen fully. But a difficult vintage for red wines turned out to be a great one for whites. Especially the Chardonnays show magnificent concentration of flavours and high natural acidity across the board, with the better ones from Margaret River being truly outstanding. Whether its the bio-dynamic approach, the pedigree of the fruit, restrained wine making or a combination of this all, the Chardonnays from Cullen always possess a certain naturalness making it one of the regions best. Light yellow in colour, intense aromas of citrusfruit and melon are underpinned by subtle oak and barrel derived characters. This is all repeated on a palate that is tight, elegant, focused and pure with ample acid and a superb creamy mouthfeel. Although I prefer to drink Chardonnays relatively young, I would cellar this wine for another year before looking at it again. 93 points.

Source: Red + White  Price: $79.99  Drink: Now-2011+

Web: www.cullenwines.com.au

La Chablisienne Chablis 2006

July 11, 2008

About two weeks ago Australian Financial Review’s Tim White wrote an interesting article on the unprecedented wide choice of fine European wines in Australia. Apart from importers like Enoteca Sileno, Vintage & Vine, CellarHand and The Spanish Acquisition, praised for keeping up stock levels of many independent bottle shops and top restaurants with exciting wine styles, a fair bit of attention went out to the wine buyers at Coles. Owning outlets as Liquorland and Vintage Cellars, our biggest wine retailer has jumped onto the bandwagon with imports at the cheaper end of the market in order to expose customers to new styles and varieties. Although not all the offerings are of the same quality, some nice ones can be found at attractive prices. I know this subject throws around some controversy but one can’t deny democracy has landed in the world of wine.

The always reliable wines from Chablis co-op La Chablisienne are well represented on the shelves of my local Vintage Cellars. The straw yellow 2006 Chablis unveils its regional identity straight away with aromas of lemon, apple and white flowers while gentle acid flows underneath the smooth and textural palate. This is not the most concentrated and persistent Chablis, but for a village wine selling at twenty dollars its all forgiven. 87 points

Source: James Busby Fine Wines/Vintage Cellars  Price: $20  Drink: Now

Web: www.chablisienne.com