I’m always wary of modern trends in wine consumption – wine to me is something that is enjoyed by people with such wide and diverse tastes that one man’s perfect wine is another man’s plonk. Put 10 people in a room and get them to taste a Premier Cru and I guarantee you will get a wide range of feedback. This is one of the things that makes wine so interesting in my opinion.
I have always believed and still do believe that Chardonnay is the king of white grapes. The Champagne industry as we know it would not exist without chardonnay. My mother-in-law professes not to like chardonnay but when I point out that most champagnes are made from it she finds it difficult not to drink a glass on this principle. I think part of the problem – or solution – is how the grape is vinified and that there are a lot of misconceptions about chardonnay and the wine it makes.
Ever had a glass of white wine in an English pub and immediately regretted it? I’ve had white wine served to me that has not only been blood-warm but would also work equally as well as any industrial paint-stripper. Invariably it has been chardonnay and hence the bad reputation it has unfairly gained – especially in the UK. I recently came across this offering from First Cape which not only proves that chardonnay is drinkable but – at £ 4.00 a bottle – is extremely good value as well.
First Cape began as a SA/USA joint venture in 2002 and are currently the UK’s largest selling wine brand with 90% of their production sold to supermarkets. Grapes are bought-in from a network of 200 or so growers in the Worcester region and made into wine on location in Simondium. All the growers are co-owners of the brand and thus have a vested interest in and benefit from the success of the wines.
This Private Vineyards Chardonnay is sourced from a few select vineyards in the region. It is a wine that is perfect for drinking on its own – a relaxed charmer – or can go equally well with food. On the nose the wine gives off biscuity nuances typical of the variety and zesty citrusy flavours. It has a creamy mouthfeel rounded off with ripe melon and golden apple. There is a slight hint of oak but as is the case with some chardonnays this wine is not over-oaked and is light and fresh on the palate. Food-wise its perfect with salads, seafood, light chicken and pasta dishes as well as soft, creamy cheeses such as brie.
This is not the best chardonnay I’ve ever tasted but its certainly not the worst. I would give it 75 points out of 100 as although it cost me £4.00 per bottle from Asda, its ten times better than a lot of chardonnays I’ve had by the glass that cost almost as much.