Well that was quite the weekend! Much love to my good friends Rory and Rachel, whose engagement party celebrations are responsible for the tortuous state that I now find myself in… But we’re not here to talk about what I did on Saturday, oh no no. Not with the long overdue return of Chardonnay Friday, which occurred some 24 hours beforehand.
A semi-regular post-work Friday catch up that just happens to occur on the tables out the front of a particularly good bottle shop – a highly dangerous location to drink, if ever there was one – Chardonnay Friday was somewhat unsurprisingly named due to the high proportion of this fantastic grape that finds its way across the table during any one session. Think you don’t like Chardonnay? You probably just haven’t tried the right one. In the lead-up to a tasting I ran recently, a few of the participants specifically mentioned Chardonnay as something they didn’t like; knowing this, I included a fanastic Chardonnay blend on the list and it ended up being the biggest seller and the wine that received unanimous praise! So read on…
Somewhat anachronistically, when I arrived there was a bottle of 09 JL Wolf Wachenheimer Riesling on the table . A generous and fleshy ‘dry’ riesling in the German sense, which means a touch of sugar for palate weight, it was a nice taste to start the afternoon while I had a beer to try and lower my body temperature after the walk to the shop in 35 degree heat, in jeans.
There’s a beautiful hilarity in watching a bunch of people who spend their working lives in fine wine ‘break the rules’ when no one is watching, and no better example was seen on Friday night when the late afternoon sun became too fierce to keep ignoring and a 5kg bag of ice from the 7-11 made its way onto the table, and was promptly inserted into a number of glasses for temperature control. Personally I’m a bigger fan of using a couple of cubes to cool the glass down in between refills but each to their own, and a great reminder that none of this stuff should be taken too seriously.
Following on the German riesling bent, the next selection was from Pfalz wizard A Christmann. The wine, his Konigsbacher Olberg Riesling was exceptional, showing a complex mix of flavours but still tasting beautifully delicate. The undoubted highlight of the night was just around the corner, with the 12 Ochota Barrels Flint Chardonnay hitting the table and heralding the true start of Chardonnay Friday. Regular readers would be familiar with my big wraps for this new Adelaide Hills winery and the wines that they’re producing. Due to the tiny production and good press they are incredibly hard to find but I’ve just secured a very small allocation of some of them so send me an email if you’re interested in trying them. The wine itself is vibrant – super spicy and aromatic with fruit power to burn – and it’s a great example of what premium Australian Chardonnay can be (something that I’ve mentioned before). We went back to Europe for our next wine, the 11 Christian Moreau Chablis, which was like chalk to the proverbial cheese of the Ochota Barrels. All acid and straw with the familiar briney chablis character, it didn’t last too long.
About here, with the sun setting and the time since everyone’s last meal extending steadily, the close proximity to the bottle shop gets particularly worrying. Showing some restraint and bringing the selection back out of the premium range, we moved onto the 11 Flametree Chardonnay from Margaret River which shows great value for money in a fruity. Finishing as the shop closed with the excellent lean and racy Kumeu River ‘Village’ Chardonnay, and satisfied with our quick lap around the world of wine, it was off into the night to get a pizza and have a few big glasses of water before catching a good night’s sleep and chasing some surf on Saturday morning.