Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay 2008

Are you an ABC person? That stands for Anything But Chardonnay, if you weren't
Posted 11th September 2010        

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Are you an ABC person? That stands for Anything But Chardonnay, if you weren’t supping wine through the late eighties and mid nineties.

For many of those who were, it seems Chardonnay has a pretty poor reputation. A versatile grape, it was once ubiquitous at dinner parties across the land as an easy drinking dry-white nonentity playing third place to the sparkling conversation and Enya record on the stereo. And people got sick of it, hence the ABC commandment.

Okay, I was probably eating party rings under the table at the time, but that’s what my parents said when I whipped out a bottle of Penfolds Koonunga Hill at an impromptu birthday tasting session in my flat. Scarred by bottles of “oakier and oakier” Chardonnay from America – turned a deep golden amber by new wood barrels – and unsavoury footballers’ wives connotations, they sought refuge in the realm of Sauvignon Blanc and haven’t ventured back. Until now.

So could this greeny-golden South Australian special, a supermarket shelf favourite, erase a decade of discontent?


“It’s surprisingly good” and “I’d happily buy this” were two of the plaudits given between mouthfuls of date, banana and rum loaf.

They were right, you know. A refreshingly sharp attack is followed by a crisp citrus notes that pleasantly insinuate themselves into your consciousness. Then comes the lingering and leisurely aftertaste of peach and melon, melded with the warm butteriness of a gentle oak that complements but doesn’t dominate the palate.

It’s also great with food. I had it with a piece of vanilla fudge, and the sensual way the disparate flavours melded together in a glorious union of opposites was almost scandalous.

Dry, refreshing, but with a richly seductive side as well. If you haven’t given spent time with a Chardonnay for a while, this is a great way to get reacquainted.

Available for £8.99 at Gondola.


One Response to “Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay 2008”

  1. I had the same wine this week with my Rogan Josh – lovely stuff! There’s a Private Reserve on the wine list at Storm Restaurant in Poole too, which is possibly even nicer – very vanilla-y. Mmmm…

Meet the Author:
Adam Bamburg
Adam spent much of his youth in Hampshire, somewhere between Winchester and Southampton. After extracting a degree involving psychology and philosophy from a Nottingham-based university, he bid the midlands farewell and ventured back south to live in Brighton. There he found his vocation in writing: first evaluating the musical performances and recorded output of assorted beat-combos, then branching out into the terrifying world of art criticism. Despite his best efforts he now works in ‘the media’ in London. As Adam grew older and wiser he realised that wine was his favourite alcoholic beverage, that some wines are better than others, and that furthering his knowledge of the grape and producer often increased his enjoyment of the drink at the same time. He hopes to share the fermented fruits of his voyage of discovery here.