Wine Tasting Video: Chardonnay from Australia, South Africa, New Zealand & Argentina

Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Chardonnay 2012, Western Cape, South Africa (£9.99 Tesco)
Reasonably fresh with a touch of oak, but the lime jelly cube flavour is a bit simple and confected, and I taste processes rather than a place. C+

Viñalba Reservado Chardonnay 2012, Mendoza, Argentina (£11.99 Majestic)
14.5% alcohol, but it doesn’t show it. Starts off a little shy, but then as it warms up, nutty pineapple and cashew flavours tinged with citrus freshness emerge. Good mix of richness and crispness, and nice texture too. B+

Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay 2011, Eden Valley/Adelaide Hills, Australia (£15.99, Eagle Wines, Le Canon Wines, Partridges, North & South Wine, Field & Fawcett)
In that subtle, slightly vegetal, even cabbage-like style that the Aussies are into at the moment, crisp, lean and lightly nutty, with fresh pineapple and lime flavours, good, but definitely a winemaker’s wine rather than a terroir wine. B(+)

Wirra Wirra The 12th Man Chardonnay 2011, Adelaide Hills, Australia (£16.99 Ocado, Morrisons)
In a similarly reductive/vegetal style to the Grant Burge, but here there’s more finesse and life. There’s also more of an imprint of toasty oak, but it’s all kept in check by a tingling spine of acidity. S-

Craggy Range Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay 2011, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (£17.99 Guildford Wine Co, Jeroboams, General Wine Company)
Confused by this wine – it has the structure of Chablis but not the flavour. It feels like the aim was to make a light, crisp, subtle wine, and that’s been achieved, but while there’s decent green apple and citrus flavours and a crisp stony finish, it’s just a bit safe and inoffensive, rather than complex and exciting. B+

McHenry Hohnen Calgardup Brook Chardonnay 2011, Margaret River (£18.99 Handford Wine, Hennings, Whole Foods, HT White)
Takes the reduced/vegetal style of the Wirra Wirra & Grant Burge and adds some richness. I do notice the warmth of alcohol here, and it’s not afraid to flaunt some toasty oak, but the rich, nutty pineapple and nectarine flavours tempered by citrus restraint are very appealing. S(-)

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2 thoughts on “Wine Tasting Video: Chardonnay from Australia, South Africa, New Zealand & Argentina

  • Leigh Hooper

    Enjoyed that Simon, thank you. Could some of the reduction on the 3rd and 4th Chards be due to screwcapping and the liners they use?

  • Simon Post author

    I think the wine was made in a reductive style – there are what I called benevolent sulphur notes in several white Burgundies for example. But with screwcaps, those flavours often seemed to be accentuated, or at least to hang around longer than in bottles with corks. I’m not the person to contact on the science of why this happens – Jamie Goode should be able to help you out if you want more of the technical background