Saturday, October 27, 2012

Succession of Chardonnay

There’s been plenty of wine to taste and note, but they haven’t made it into Winenoter for a little while, so a succession of Chardonnay wines came together unexpectedly, and became worth noting.  Out for the day with Kim Kong and The Princess, and we drunk wine with gusto and plenty of laughter. 

For starters, and somewhat reluctantly, as a big day lay ahead, they accepted a serve of NV Taittinger Champagne, clearly Chardonnay-influenced, with lighter fruit expression, but this was in no way light and lacking.  Instead, there was richness and substance, allied to a pristine cut and definition.  Excellent restrained autolysis, true to form, but in place and not overstepping the mark.  One of the most delicious bottles of Tatts we’ve had for a while, and it’s usually good anyway.

Onto the birthday celebration, and numerous good wines were being poured.  I had more bubbles, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Viognier, and then we thought we’d better try the Chardonnay on offer, a 2007 Villa Maria ‘SV – Taylors Pass’ Marlborough Chardonnay.  Sometimes this house gets the complex sulphides past the optimum for my personal taste, but on this showing, quite simply superb.  Classical white stonefruits and citrus fruits of Marlborough with acid and minerally cut, and pristine in flow through the palate.  Lacy flinty notes lined the wine, totally integral with the other componentry, and oaking just right.  A stunner of a wine.

The after-match wind-down time took us to Al’s Eatinghouse for more morsels with Maa who joined us after work.  On the wine agenda was a 2008 Kumeu River Chardonnay.  Slim-line but wonderfully constituted.  Sure, this is marked by flinty notes, but very much in the style of good white burgundy.  The sronefruit  flavour seem dry and minerally-nutty.  Never austere, but certainly not fleshy or sweet.  Wonderful with all sorts of food fro shellfish to firm-flesh fish.  Kim Kong, SWMBO and I loved it

Then a 2009 Stonecroft ‘Old Vine’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay was called for.  A bit cold on presentation, but a little warming saw its weight come through.  And has this got weight.  Quite a contraste to the Kumeu River.  Full-bodied, rich and creamy-textured, with alcoholic power, absorbed by the citrus and tropical fruit density.  Good acid freshness too, but a slightly savoury funkiness, possibly oak derived proved a distraction.  Something a little extraneous, which Maa enjoyed, but not quite the same for SWMBO and I.

Topping it off was a 2010 Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay.  A perennial favourite, as it has everything you want, consistently, and never breaking the bank.  Sweet, ripe stonefruits that more than hint at fleshiness and richness of texture.  Yet never overdoing it.  Complex reduction too, but again judged to perfection and just fitting in.  Almost big and powerful, but stylish and quite right for drinking now.  Very contemporary, but a wine to satisfy any Chardonnay lover’s check list.  As Chardonnay lovers, it did the job, and arguably the best, at least for me, of a succession of Chardonnay.    



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jamming with JimJim

JimJim is the loveliest man.  His stories can be hairy, ‘cos he’s a hairy sort of guy.  There’s a solid exterior, but inside, there’s a sensitive new age guy who has deep thoughts, a whole lot of modesty and definitely a sense of humour.  JimJim was in town, had finished his work and was at a loose end.  I reckon he was a bit shy in making contact with us to catch up, but he gathered up his courage to give us a call.  We were delighted to get together, as he’s a lot of fun to be in company with, and it doesn’t take long to discuss any matter, very much as in a musical jam session, each of us having input and heading wherever we go.  After the mandatory pre-dinner drinks of comparing a half dozen Sauvignon Blancs and the same number of Pinot Noirs, off we headed to our local Asian eatery to enjoy some food.

The first wine a style regular that appears regularly on our table, this being a 2007 S.A. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese.  Lots of sulphur on the nose, and decidedly sugary on the palate, but it has that magical combination of sugar, alcohol and acidity that always seems to work regardless.  Being technical we pooh-poohed it but still drank it, especially SWMBO who has a fascination for Mosel Riesling.

Then it was JimJim’s offering, a 2007 Barham Mendelsohn Russian River Pinot Noir.  Dark and concentrated with linear, savoury, black-red fruitiness.  Sleek tannins with all the trimmings, all held together to make it a serious Burgundy-styled drink.  But somehow, on the night, it lacked all the detailed extras of nuance.  We missed the florals.  The finesse and ethereals were not there.  You could sense the makers were trying.  Sure there are big and firm, fully structured Richebourg look-alikes, but even they have that magical spark that hints at the ‘Holy Grail.’  This wine just missed the mark in that department.  The next night much better with evolved secondary mushroom notes.

And finally a 2006 Foradori ‘Granato’ Dolomiti Rosso, made from that recognised quality Teroldego variety of north eastern Italy.  Black berry fruits with a touch of graphite and minerals, and very fine, classy tannins.  Proportional acidity and a style to make it a classic, and a contender for noble red variety if one was looking to add to the list.  Our bottle had a bit of a horsey touch, which I enquired about later.  Some people see it as part of the varietal character, but I have my doubts.  Anyway, SWMBO left it.  I played with it.  JimJim drank it.

We dropped JimJim off at his digs.  We look forward to another jamming session with him.