Saturday, July 17, 2010
A decent New World Chardonnay
When looking for an inexpensive Chardonnay from a New World producer (and even when tasting some expensive New World Chardonnays), I have been so disappointed that I would exclaim that I don’t like Chardonnay the way some might say they dislike Merlot. My complaint is that New World Chardonnay is often too cloying, too much like an over-ripe peach that is about to spoil. They remind me of Elton John’s song “Rotten Peaches.” And then one day I was caught in my contradiction, because I frequently sing the praise of white Burgundy, which is, of course, Chardonnay. So my lament has changed to that of, “Why can’t New World producers create something like a white Burgundy?”
One comes pretty dang close, and that is the Chilean producer Cousiño-Macul. Its 2009 Chardonnay is a delightful quaff that can be had for $10 per bottle, sometimes less. This wine has a round and fleshy taste of both light citrus and orchard fruit with a brilliant finish that has a subtle mineral quality: None of that cloying puffiness of many other inexpensive Chardonnays from the New World.
Cousiño-Macul has been around for a while; it was founded in 1856 in the Maipo Valley. This winery has been a very-consistent producer over the years, and not just with its whites, but with its red varieties as well.
I drank this one several weeks back with my friend Curt, and as I recall, it was with a meal of some pan-seared salmon with a vegetable medley of sautéed peppers and summer squash. It had the right crispness and fruit for the salmon, and would make a suitable choice for a similar dish any time.
This is a great value wine that ought to bring you nothing but praise should you bring it to a dinner party. And for less than $10, I’ll be buying this one again. I rate it with an 8.5 from my scale at the left.