Friday, March 25, 2005

3 Chardonnays: Chile, NZ, Australia

HARDYS STAMP OF AUSTRALIA CHARDONNAY SEMILLON 2003, South Australia, 13.0% SC2, #335638 $8.80

Hardys description: "Medium straw in colour, the Stamp Chardonnay Semillon displays lifted aromas of peach, melon and subtle lime. Full Chardonnay flavours of tropical fruit, melon and peach characterise the palate. A creamy mouthfeel, a fresh lime finish, and a subtle oak influence complete this medium bodied wine.... best consumed within 12 months." My notes: I'd say: a light straw colour, a light grassy chardonnay nose and lime/melon/nectarine flavour with a soft creamy texture. The pronounced acids are balanced by the residual sugars. As a sipper: nothing to offend with a warm finish - a low-price white for the nondiscerning? Serve with mild cheeses, creamy pastas, boiled or broiled lobster. A General listing.

CAIRNBRAE CLANSMAN CHARDONNAY 2001, Marlborough, NZ, 14.0% D, Winery (photo) $16.00?

Cellared in April 2003. The Label says: "The grapes for the Cairnbrae Clansman Chardonnay were from.... a Jacksons Road vineyard (next door to the Cloudy Bay Winery). Handpicked grapes were bunch pressed followed by barrel fermentation in American oak then ageing on lees for 10 months giving excellent weight and balance. The wine is full on the palate, with hints of vanilla from the American oak barriques and malolactic fermentation.... combine to give a creamy complexity to the natural ripe peach, citrus and passionfruit flavours. Cellar up to five years." My notes: Colour is gold with a nectarine hue. Nose is full mango/citrus/vanilla combination more complex than a traditional chard. Citrus acid fills the top and sides of the palate while a light buttery passionfruit peach blend rolls over the tongue. Unusual but interesting sipper and sufficiently full for grilled Asian chicken, mushrooms and rice.

LAURA HARTWIG COLCHAGUA VALLEY CHARDONNAY 2000, Rapel, Chile, 13.5% SC1, Opimian $17.33

Cellared August 2001. Opimian says: "Selected grapes were pressed and left on the lees for four months then in French oak barrels four months then in bottle for four months before release..... A beauty, this wine has all of the benefits of a "Mendoza" chardonnay clone offering high fruit complexity. etc. Restrained in the mouth but buttery, opulent and very long." My notes: Tasted 2003 and rated 91. 100% chardonnay should be cellared for at least two years. Now has a light golden colour with a soft grassy with light oak nose. Full-bodied buttery texture, lots of warmth with good acid and a long smooth finish. Pleasing sipper and good match with seafoods: telapia, grouper(sp?), broiled cod with leeks, creamed mushroom pasta, etc.

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