Still regarded as one of the most popular wines in the world, Chardonnay has gone through some rocky times, remember the 1990’s when over oaked Chards were everywhere. Well, times have changed and on the whole so has the production of Chardonnay, the trend now is for a more unoaked and less buttery style although there are still plenty of good oaked ones around. You can still buy good reasonably priced Californian and new world bottles oaked or Naked (unoaked) and of course there’s always Burgundy (Chablis) if your pocket stretches that far.
I tasted two this week one from New Zealand and the other from Australia, both very different and both pretty good. So if you like a bottle with a touch of oak or a bottle a bit more woody with a slightly buttery texture then one of these may well be for you…
Climbing 2018 / Sacred Hill Reserve 2019
Climbing Chardonnay 2018
This is a New South Wales, Orange region, Australian high altitude cool climate Chardonnay. For a wine to be classified an Orange Region wine, its grapes must come from vines grown higher than 600 metres above sea-level.
Although being instantly recognizable as a Chardonnay the nose is pretty much restrained, there’s some citrus fruit as well as elements of something tropical with a slight whiff of buttery creaminess but only a touch.
The taste was fruit forward, plenty of citrus and stone fruits followed by pineapple, mango and other tropical flavours. It was bright and plenty of acidity was noticeable but finishing with a hint of creaminess. This has some oak but it’s pretty subdued and overall an enjoyable wine without perhaps hitting the heights.
Sacred Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2019
Off to New Zealand this time and the Hawke’s Bay region, this was different altogether from the Aussie ‘Climbing’ there was much more intensity in the nose, much richer and fuller with tropical fruit and toasted oak along with some creamy butter.
Although the taste had some citrus flavours it was mainly all about the sweeter tropical fruits, apricots, mangoes, pineapple and banana. Nutty and toasty but the oak wasn’t intrusive, you knew it was there but it was balanced, still had some acidity but with a creamy finish.
All who tried this around the table enjoyed it and if i had to pick a favourite out of the two on show my preference would be the Sacred Hill but only just, hence 1/2 a cork extra’