An Ode to Chardonnay
Many of you who know me personally will know that I love chardonnay in all its forms. I’ve especially missed Australian chardonnay while living abroad. So it seems only fair to compose of poem in tribute to this great grape of the world.
Clear, bright, golden, or sparkling.
A magical expression no matter the location.
A grape to excite and inspire,
My vinous heart will always search for you.
Bud burst, unfurling and entwining as you grow
Summer sun, ripening your berries happily.
Those that respect you yield the greatest finesse.
No matter your style I am always wanting.
Unable to be sated, my thirst for you only grows.
That first touch on my lips, your luscious drop will only delight.
Swirling and tantalising my palate.
Crisp and clean with delicate flinty tones,
Or moody and deep with brooding complexity and creaminess.
Sparkling like a diamond, or still as a lake, I’ll savour them all.
Even when left alone, you only prosper.
A reward awaits those who can resist you.
In any style you choose, I am always yours.
Soppy, lovey-dovey prose, blergh! Completely indulgent, but chardonnay is just one of those loves of my life that I continuously come back to. My love of the variety actually came from where I began my career in wine, Coonawarra. While most people are focused on the world renowned expressions of cabernet sauvignon (and rightly so), my eyes were set firmly on chardonnay. My preconceptions of the wine were that it was an ‘old’ wine, a bit musty, a bit daggy and flabby and not all that pleasant. My boss at the time, Peter Weinberg, quickly allayed those ideas. I learned that chardonnay could be restrained, balanced and modern. Since having understood the wine in more context, I’ve come to love it in all expressions, even the daggy ones!
One of the wonderful things about this grape is the way it expresses itself can vary so much depending on the environment it grows. For me, the best examples are those that are allowed to display where they grew up as part of their identity in the glass. The best winemakers are taking a hands-off approach and simply allowing the wine to show itself fully.
Lately, the cooler climate styles are calling my name for their freshness and minerality, especially with the warmer months approaching. I’ll be heading for the Adelaide Hills, Yarra Valley or Tasmanian bottles in my collection to whet the appetite. These wines beg for spring vegetables and my favourite recipe for a herby roast chicken. Even a fresh and crunchy Waldorf salad with a touch of creaminess would do well at the table.
I’m a big believer that chardonnay is a grape that has and will stand the test of time. If you’re new to chardonnay and think you could grow to love it as much as I do, please get in touch and I’d love to share with you some ideas of where to start.