By John Rozentals.
winemakers seem to have learnt from their sins of the past as far as chardonnay
is concerned, when they seemed chiefly concerned about seeing how much oak they
could imbue their wines with.
was all part of the learning curve and maybe hence it was natural and
it also resulted in the creation of what became known as the ABC syndrome among
wine lovers — Anything But Chardonnay.
were finding the resultant wines often hard to drink — and certainly far from
food friendly. They were looking for genuine fruit flavour, not a mouthful of
splinters — for a balanced wine that complemented foods they enjoyed eating
rather than overwhelming them.
Andrew Koerner has always been interested in making chardonnay that complements, rather than fights, food.
smart winemakers — such as Andrew Koerner, of Blue Pyrenees Estate, in western
Victoria’s Pyrenees — completely avoided the trap. Others fell for it big time,
with the result that they did themselves and the industry a great deal of harm.
has been a drive for a few years now to undo the damage that quite possibly led
the world to beat a path to New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
that’s a very good thing, because chardonnay is undoubtedly one of the world’s
greatest white varieties — one quite capable of making a range of complex wines
that suit our life styles.
just hope that it isn’t too late. Though there is some residual action from the
ABC contingent, I sense that drinkers are finding a new passion for chardonnay.
I never lost mine, and instead found chardonnays that weren’t excessively oaky.
Pyrenees Estate 2013 Chardonnay ($22): they’re never would have been a
problem with Australian chardonnay if others had followed Andrew Korner’s lead.
This is quite simply a beautiful drink. Natural fermentation, barrel
fermentation and batonage (stirring of residual year lees) have all contributed
to a complex dry white that foodies will love.
Pyrenees Estate 2017 Bone-Dry Pinot Noir Rosé ($22): here’s another wine
doing its best to combat misunderstanding. At this time of year, restaurant
tables should be packed with this type of refreshing chilled drink. It’s dry,
it’s balanced and it tastes good. Ask no more.
Wines 2016 Reserve Chardonnay ($40): made from 100 per cent Mudgee
chardonnay planted in 1976 and now producing at their peak, this wine, like the
BPE Chardonnay, has been produced with complexity and fruit flavour as peak
requirements. It’s the epitome of warm-climate chardonnay with ample flavours
in the nectarine spectrum.