What’s Hot in the World of Wine: Chardonnay revived, Napa Valley & Sémillon





After a lengthy hiatus, What’s Hot in the World of Wines returns for the first time in 2013 and this week our leading wine journalists have been extoling the virtues of Chardonnay in The Telegraph, championing Napa Valley in the Sunday Times and praising Sémillon in the Guardian

 
Chardonnay is back in fashion

“Once, Australian chardonnay was as sunny and amply buxom as Dolly Parton.” Victoria Moore delightfully enthuses in the Daily Telegraph, “Now it is more Nicole Kidman; still luminous, but lean and toned.” Moore believes the once maligned Australian Chardonnay has defied its now lengthy stereotype to consistently bring us wines that make one "…fantasise about sitting, glass in hand, legs dangling from a high stool, at a white marble bar, ideally looking out across a turquoise sea with a crayfish salad on the way". 

CellarVie Wines says: Such a pertinent point and one illustrated to CellarVie Wines during a recent tasting event. Charged with operating what previously would have been the poisoned chalice that is the Chardonnay table, it turned out to be anything but. Displaying a plethora of varied Chardonnays both from the Old and New worlds, ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) was emphatically contradicted. While Moore centres her attentions on Aussie Chardonnay in particular, there is an argument to suggest that the global guise of this much-maligned varietal has never been better.
 
The Blackstone Chardonnay from Monterey County, California was an instant hit for its buttery, rich almost toffee notes, while its Australian counterpart on the table, the Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Unwooded Chardonnay from the McLaren Vale was very different but an instant hit for its vibrantly acidic profile. If you really want to understand the crux of Moore’s argument then a glass of Oakridge Chardonnay from Yarra Valley, with its opulent palate of fruit salad, green melon and brilliantly supported by a long and strong citrus tang, will certainly make you reconsider Aussie Chardonnay.

Why not try:

Blackstone Chardonnay 2010, Monterey County

Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Unwooded Chardonnay, McLaren Vale 2009

Oakridge Chardonnay, Yarra Valley 2011


Napa Valley

Citing Kate Moss and Jamie Hince’s apparently pending wine tasting holiday there, Kate Spicer lauds California’s Napa Valley as a region capable of producing “some of the new world’s best rivals to fine red Bordeaux”. While largely associated with Cabernet Sauvignon, Spicer also highlights the work done by the revered Robert Mondavi in regards to an oaked Sauvignon Blanc known as fumé blanc (white smoke) while she also draws attention to the culinary delights available in the region. Spicer intimates wine tasting jaunts are “becoming increasingly cool, and once again, annoyingly, La Moss is ahead of the curve.”

CellarVie Wines says: Spicer confirms that the “worthwhile wines” from the Napa Valley are not cheap but certainly there are a host of wonderful wines that are more than a match for their vaunted French counterparts. The Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 is a perfect example of this, because while it may not be cheap at £19.99 a bottle, it remains a classic expression of the region’s premium quality.
 
Likewise, the Luke Donald Collection wines are also a little dear but they are well worth the expense. The Ryder Cup hero has played an active role in crafting the wine having been involved in the blending and his endeavours have really paid off. The Claret in particular has been hugely popular and the finished product, with its luscious, vibrant flavours of black berries and subtle spice notes is a worthy testament to Napa and indeed Donald’s seemingly limitless abilities.

Why not try:

Luke Donald Collection Claret, Napa Valley 2006/09

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2008


Why Sémillon is on the up

The esteemed Fiona Beckett champions a “fascinating chameleon of a grape that manifests itself in several ways within even one country,” suggesting it is perhaps sémillon’s turn to experience a revival in ways that Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc have in the past. Beckett articulates the wide variety of styles of Sémillon available suggesting a very distinctive one from Australia’s Hunter Valley will manifest itself in a very different way to one from the Barossa Valley.

CellarVie Wines says: Sémillon is often described as one of the unsung heroes of white wine production. Traditionally blended with Sauvignon Blanc this versatile varietal is the key ingredient in Sauternes and thanks to its widespread establishment in Bordeaux and its common use in the southern hemisphere it has been the world’s most planted white grape, even if, as Moore suggests, it is a little out of fashion at the moment. In Australia and unblended this varietal is responsible for the very distinctive wine style that is exclusive to the New World and heavily referred to in the Guardian article in question.
 
While our range is perhaps a little dessert wine heavy where Semillon is concerned, there are a few bottles that will certainly illustrate the versatility that this golden grape varietal is capable of. Simply enter Semillon into the website search engine, ensuring you are referring to the wine section rather than the very magical and engaging media section and have a look yourself. 

Why not try:

Coat Door Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon, Western Australia, 2010

Oakridge Fumé Blanc Limited Release, Yarra Valley 2010

Château de Seuil 2009, Graves Blanc
 
 
 

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