When it comes to grapes there’s been a lot of excitement in the vineyards over the last few years.
We’ve seen the return of long forgotten whites (riesling, sauvignon blanc), the rise of the South American red (malbec, carménère) and Obama-sized adulation for inventive blends (like the marriage of shiraz and viognier). Unfortunately all this “cool” fruit has taken its toll on one of my favourite varietals: Chardonnay.
First planted in France’s Burgundy region, it’s now grown just about everywhere which has fuel the fire under complaints that any originality has been long lost. I blame the over oaking of many a chardonnay for all the back-turning, and most winemakers have been toning it down to reveal fresher flavours.
The 2007 Fat Bastard Chardonnay ($14.95 – $16.99) from southern France is a perfect example of where subtle barrel aging really lets the grape’s lemony fruit come forward.
Over in California the 2006 J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay ($20.75 – $23.98) shows its light woodiness in the vanilla, coconut and butterscotch highlights that fuel its ripe, citrusy flavour trail.
Both wines make a hip reintroduction to a great grape and will match well with white fish, poultry dishes and lighter cream sauces.
Prices reflect the range across the country. Some products may not be available in all provinces.
– Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.