In this week’s instalment of citizen journalism, TBW director, Rob Jenkins, unearths some of the myths behind Australian Chardonnay and implores consumers to use their taste buds — not catchy acronyms — when selecting wines. 
“In my opinion during the past 25 years, poor old Chardonnay has been treated very poorly in Australia.
Phase one — To get the thing going, we planted it anywhere and everywhere and along the way made some poor decisions. We struggled to understand it and its growing requirements. That coupled with experimental vineyard practices and a lot of poor clone selections resulted in big mistakes, which we tried to cover up by throwing a ton of oak at it.
Phase two — Let’s milk some more cash out of this baby, sell it totally nude, but ripe. Better still let’s blend it through wines from better (or should I say dearer) GIs to triple production. To get some action in the European market, let’s water the hell out of it, dip it in some wood chips, and presto: "Sunshine in a glass" (the peach version) to unsuspecting Poms and Yanks.
Phase three — By now we were well in control of our vineyards and had adjusted the previously poor clone selections, we were handling oak regiments with style and toned down malo treatments.
Phase four — Things were looking up for our old mate. The public was enjoying things and wham along come the Kiwis with their ‘asparagus’ version of sunshine in a glass. We got hooked and are still hooked! (Someone in the Government must like asparagus better than peaches also as for some reason we pay them to get it here by granting them, our farmers, WET allowances.)
It seems the Poms must also love asparagus better than peaches as the Kiwis were not happy with just invading Australia. They took the rest of the wine-drinking world and knocked us for the six runs their own cricket team can’t seem to manage against our boys!
It seems it is easier to simply put Chardonnay with the other ‘misunderstood by the public’, varietals: Riesling and Semillon and the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) phrase no doubt coined by a secret agent from New Zealand and there you have it for all the followers not leaders.
The truth is the quality of Chardonnay at this point, particularly cool climate styles with quality oak, has never been better. Apparently the ABC set reckon Sauvignon Blanc matches any food style!
Well I disagree 100 per cent and would rather consume my wine with a meal that it matches, whether it be Riesling or Pinot Gris and to me a quality Chardonnay fits the bill very often.
Forget the ABC rule as there is a place for Chardonnay and only the stupid would allow that rule to apply.”


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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