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 Chardonnay, Rest of the New World, including Argentina, Chile & New Zealand

2017 Gold: 2 Silver: 2 Bronze: 5 Commended: 10
2016 Gold: 5 Silver: 8 Bronze: 3 Commended: 0

 

It looks like we had it wrong all those years ago. Far from being ‘Mister Easy Going’, Chardonnay, it seems, is a grape variety that really needs to be taken seriously. How else to explain the fact that it’s going from strength to strength in Oz, California and the Cape, but withering away elsewhere.

The Argentinians are more interested in Malbec, the Kiwis in Sav and who knows what the Chileans are up to.

Entries here were decent, but the medal count was low and the feedback mostly a bit ‘meh’. It was all rather dispiriting. The only plus side: the pricing, which tended to be a lot better than from elsewhere.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘The Chilean wines we put through were a mix of Old World and New World Chardonnay in style – creamy, but with good acidity and freshness, and I thought the prices were beautiful. You need to know how to sell these, but that’s the job of the sommelier.’ Carlos Ferreira, The Sign of the Don

‘I look for Burgundy character from New Zealand, more than from the rest of the New World. When these worked, they had nice concentration, and well-integrated oak.’ Andrés Ituarte, Coq d’Argent

‘I’ve had good experiences with Chilean Chardonnay, and I think they represent good value. The best had fruit, acidity and well-balanced and integrated oak.’ Chantal Serrano, Tamarind of Mayfair

‘Argentina should be focusing on purity of fruit; they can get some lovely vibrancy with early picking and no malolactic.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader

‘New Zealand’s producers need to manage their oak better.’ Mattin Larraburu, Sexy Fish