Last Wednesday evening, we attended a very interesting wine dinner at Flutes @ National Museum organized by the Appetite magazine. Kenny Leong, Wine Editor at Appetite magazine, and his team tasted about 100 Chardonnay before picking their top 10 for the night's blind tasting.
Chardonnay is the most popular and diverse white wine grape and it is grown in virtually every wine-producing region in the world. It is one of the principal grapes used to produce Champagne and is second, only behind Pinot Meunier in plantings within Champagne. If you are new to white wine and are confused with the different white wine varietals, chances are you would be served a glass of Chardonnay when you order a glass of House white wine in a restaurant. That’s how common it is.
Although Chardonnay is planted throughout the world, the most well known are the white Burgundies from the 4 distinct areas within Burgundy – Mâconnais, Côte Chalonnaise, Côte de Beaune and Chablis. In the new world, Chardonnay flourishes in the cooler climates of the Carneros Region in Napa and the Russian River Valley in Sonoma, within California as well as the Margaret River, Yarra Valley and the Adelaide Hills in Australia. Wonderful and expressive Chardonnay can also be found in Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa etc.
There are basically 2 main styles of Chardonnay in the world influenced by the oak aging process and the areas of growth.
If your ideal glass of Chardonnay is creamy with a complex finish, you will love the classic style of oak-aged Chardonnay wine. Oaked Chardonnays are rich, full-bodied and have additional flavors of vanilla, butter and crème-brulee from the oak. The identifying styles of Chardonnay are also regionally based. For example, pineapple notes are more commonly associated with Chardonnay from Napa Valley while Chablis will have more notes of green apples.
But if you prefer lighter and easy-drinking wine like Sauvignon Blanc, then your perfect Chardonnay is the unoaked kind. Unoaked Chardonnay has a zesty style like the Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay wine tends to have less ‘green flavors’ than Sauvignon Blanc. Depending on how ripe the grapes were when picked, the flavor ranges from lemon and green apple (less ripe) to pineapple and figs (very ripe).
We had great fun sampling these 10 beautiful Chardonnay of different styles and from all over the world from Burgundy to Tuscany; from Napa Valley to Adelaide Hills. Each guest was given a score sheet and requested to rate each wine with a score from 1 to 5. The result will be tabulated and published in the coming issue of the magazine.
The Top 10 Chardonnay for the night were (Not in order of merit but the order they were numbered):
1. Domaine Morey-Coffinet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Romanee 2008
2. Remi Jobard Meursault Les Chevalieres 2009
3. Domaine Faiveley Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Champ Gain" 2010
4. Pio Cesare Langhe Piodilei Chardonnay DOC 2010
5. HdV (Hyde de Villaine) Chardonnay 2009
6. Chateau Fuisse, Pouilly-Fuisse "Tete De Cru" 2011
7. Hardys Oomoo Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2007
8. Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2010
9. Felsina "I Sistri" Chardonnay IGT 2010
10. Bass Phillip Estate Chardonnay 2009
My personal pick for the night was the HdV Chardonnay 2009 from Napa Valley. The nose was complex and it opened up to reveal multiple layers of intricate aromas and flavors as I swirled and let it breathed in the wine glass. I like my Chardonnay to be rich and full-bodied and the HdV was one of the 2-3 wine that evening that had such a palate profile in my humble opinion. I had many glasses of the Wine No. 5.
However, just like what I had discussed and agreed with the Lunneys whom we had met and hit it off at the dinner, wine preference is a very personal thing. Some appeal to you but not to the others and I am excited to compare my pick with the rest when the result is published.
|The Top 10 Chardonnay unveiled|
|Carpaccio of Hokkaido Scallop with citrus jelly, |
tomatoes dressing and mixed herbs
|House Cured Salmon with white chocolate cannelloni, |
salmon roe and quince glaze
|Saddle of Lamb stuffed with Dacquoise raisin, tapanade and leek gratin|
|Chevre Panna Cotta with yuzu glaze, soil crumble and pineapple jelly|