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Chardonnay - I can't stand Chardonnay!

How many times have I heard that? Too many! I have a feeling that the poor souls who have been driven to that conclusion have been mercilessly subjected to a wine that has been oaked to within an inch of its life, smothering all the (probably) weak and insipid fruity flavours that the wine was originally able to muster.

My friend (let’s call her Aggie to protect her identity) was one such poor soul. We had a chat and it transpired that she really – and I mean really – likes Chablis. She nearly choked on her Cava when I told her that Chablis is made from the Chardonnay grape. It took some convincing: I even had to resort to showing her the relevant page in the Wine Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 in Wines Course Book before she would believe me.

So, putting aside the above-mentioned über-oaked member of the Adams Family, let’s have a look at a Chablis, of which no doubt Aggie would approve: Domaine Vrignaud, Chablis 1er Cru `Fourchaume` 2015. This is one of the wines that me and my students tasted on my current WSET Level 2 Course in Wines.

What a find! This Certified Organic wine has really ripe citrus notes, with tones of minerality and a hint of stone fruit underpinned by refreshing acidity. The fact that this wine has undergone malolactic fermentation and has been aged for a further 10 months on its lees after being fermented in stainless steel tanks adds even more complexity. It’s delicious now but could certainly be cellared for another 5 years or so.

Another Chardonnay on the Course took us from Chablis in the north right to the southern end of Burgundy to taste Chateau-Fuissé, Pouilly-Fuissé Tête de Cru 2015. This has a whole gamut of flavours: ripe fruit with hints of white flower, hazelnut and suggestions of honey and praline with a subtle layer of toastiness. It’s beautifully balanced. Like the Chablis, it’s yummy now, but has the potential to age.

Both of these wines are available from The Wine Shed at Stydd Gardens. I reckon I should take Aggie with me next time I go. I think I’ll have a convert to Chardonnay!

If you would like more information about Courses and Tastings at The Wine Shed School of Wine, please get in touch via the ‘Contact’ page and I will forward your message.


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