|De Bortoli Windy Peak Chardonnay|
Drinks well out of a plastic tumbler
12.5%, Screwcap, $14
Just for perspective, I opened this particular wine alongside the new 2011 Capital Wines Kyeema Vineyard Chardonnay Viognier and then asked my able wine assistant (all wine writers have wine assistants. I have a whole staff actually. Not...) to pour them blind.
Now normally what would happen is that one wine (the $32, grapefruity, Chardonnay blend) would be noticeably more sophisticated, structured and impressive, whilst the other wine (the generous, light $15 Chardonnay) would be straight forward and simple and quaffable. I'd note why I liked/disliked either of them and move on.
Yet a funny thing happened with this pairing. Something that occasionally happens and, when it does, makes tasting blind even more valuable. What happened was that I genuinely preferred the $15 Windy Peak, whilst I struggled to enjoy the Canberran wine. I struggled to love the razor sharp, overly dominant acidity, the hard edges and the subdued varietal character. I struggled with all of it actually, largely as I thought it showed the challenges of both it's overt youthfulness and the unripe acidity of the vintage, characters which ultimately made for little in the way of drinking joy.
In direct contrast this Chardonnay was a wine of simple pleasure, kicking off with an open nose of nectarine nectar, a pinch of vanilla and more fruit richness. It's immediately a straightforward wine but not unpleasantly so. It's open yet also not overt, contained even in it's mode. Palate too is light and nectarine driven palate with a lick of vanilla loak and a genuine juiciness. Nice simple richness and no unripeness (which is what marred the aforementioned Chardonnay Viognier) though clearly with more firm acid than usual.
Ultimately this is a wine of drinkability, of simplicity, of fruit. It's not a high scoring wine, nor is it likely to win trophies but for it's pricepoint, for it's style, for it's status in life this is great stuff. Great stuff that, in this case, showed just how important that notion of drinkability really is. Of course in 3 years time the Windy Peak will likely have fallen over whilst the Kyeema might be hitting it's straps. But that is ignoring the simple fact that wine is for drinking and, if given the choice, I'd be sticking to this Windy Peak every time. 16.3/88