Here at the McLeish cellar door we often meet ABC customers – “Anything But Chardonnay” – and to that we say “challenge accepted”!
Some things you might not know about chardonnay:
Our Culloden sparkling wine is chardonnay – picked early. The timing of harvest is going to make a big difference to the texture and flavour. We pick early for Culloden because we want the sparkling wine to be piquant and fresh – not like the intense, golden characters you might associate with an aged, or heavily oaked chardonnay. For our table chardonnays, we allow the grapes to ripen later on the vine, which generally means a more developed stone-fruit character, more sugar in the grape, and therefore a slightly higher alcohol content.
Chardonnay can be oaked or not oaked. Our Victoria and Reserve Chardonnays are matured in oak, but the majority of the chardonnay that makes part of our Chelsea blend – semillon and chardonnay – is not oaked. If you have enjoyed a ‘chablis’ before, which is unoaked chardonnay, it’s possible you have loved a chardonnay without even knowing it! Try them side-by-side next time you visit our cellar door.
The oak in chardonnay is going to give you vanilla aromas and often a nutty character. The younger and smaller the barrel, the more intense those qualities are going to be. We use a combination of new and mature barrels, and then blend them together before bottling.
Oaked chardonnay is a marriage between the fruit and the oak. Just like a marriage, we are aiming for each partner to bring out the very best in the other from the beginning. Just like a marriage, we are aiming for the characters of both the fruit and the oak to develop, to deepen and to soften over time. If there are oaked chardonnays you have not enjoyed in the past, perhaps it is not the fault of the chardonnay grape, but of a bad marriage!
Whether you are a lover of chardonnay, or an “ABC”, we are excited for you to try our new 2022 Victoria Chardonnay, as well as our Reserve Chardonnays from 2016 and 2017 which are currently on our Wines of Distinction tasting list. We are confident that one, or indeed all of them will win you over to chardonnay.
Written by Alyssa Brugman
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