Saturday, 12 January 2013

Eikendal Chardonnay 2010/11

I have recently decided that Chardonnay is a much-maligned grape and so have attempted to taste a broad range of Chardonnays from both the Old and New World. The latest in this set of tasting (the others will be posted at some point), was the South African Eikendal 2010/11, which cost around £12.

Eikendal Chardonnay is Eikendal's flagship white wine, according to their website, and is oaked for 7 months before bottling, so I was expecting a certain amount of intensity, although not so much as one might expect from an Aussie oak-monster of a Chardonnay. My thoughts at the time of tasting are as follows:

Nose: Surprisingly, given the oak, this was a light-smelling Chardonnay than many others I have tried. It was grassy and perhaps a little minerally with distinct notes of green apple and lemon coming through. After some time a hint of toasty oak began to emerge. The citrus was, however, the clearest of the identifiable aromas.

Palate: My first impression was 'smoky sweet'. It was pleasantly tasty with a decent level of stone fruit (peach, perhaps some apricot) with a little dollop of honey coming in at the back. After a few sips, however, it began to taste a little light and overly sugary. Perhaps even insipid. My standard tasting measure is around 50-75mls, so for a wine to become cloying after such a short period (admittedly without food) is not an entirely positive sign.

Body: The body remained remarkably light for an oaked Chardonnay throughout and altogether not what I was expecting. Perhaps there was too much focus on attempting to achieve a Burgundian minerality when making this wine and less was thought about how this would affect the wine's structure.

Finish: Longer that I would have thought given the lack of body and pleasant. More citrus, especially lemon, with a slightly grassy tang.

Conclusion: Clearly an ambitious attempt to make a Burgundian-style wine in South Africa, but did it really work? Well, it was a perfectly nice wine to begin with and showed some potential for development, but the slightly sugary taste meant that I was unable to say with certainty whether or not I liked it. I feel that with some well-chosen food matched with it (grilled fish or any white meat) or perhaps another year or so in the cellar this could have been a thoroughly decent wine.

Points: 84. Pleasant enough but there wasn't quite enough depth to make me want to drink this again. The citrus made me feel that this was in fact a Sauvignon Blanc in disguise.

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