If, like me, you were born in the eighties you may have been brought up by Chardonnay-hating parents. There was a time when the wine market became over saturated with heavily oaked Chardonnays from the New World (namely Australia), they were the colour of horse urine and tasted just as terrible (or so I’m told). This gave the Australians a very bad reputation for over-flavoured and, frankly vile wines.
Until only recently I’ve realised that although this may have once been the case, it was the eighties after all and things have changed. Let’s be honest, the eighties wasn’t really the best decade of the century, it must’ve been pretty hard to follow the rock and roll hiatus of the seventies. The music wasn’t nearly as good, the fashion was terrible. The only redeeming factor I can think of it that a very large proportion of my favourite people were born in this decade.
Sauvignon Blanc ruled the roost when I was growing up, I didn’t complain, in fact it’s probably what started my whole wine obsession in the first place. I remember there was always a lone bottle of unidentified Chardonnay lurking in the back of the fridge that was probably brought over by friends of my parents (how thoughtless) and there would come a point in the wee hours where it would be the only thing left in the fridge. My darling mother and I would sniff and tut at the thought of drinking it. I’ve forgotten to mention my utter stubbornness and that once I’d made my mind up aged 15 that Chardonnay was not for me I’ve stuck to it.
When I started my career in wine I was very resilient, but in a bid to learn everything I possibly could I reluctantly started trying the dreaded grape. It’s no surprise that now, I bloody love it. Everyday at work people ask for advice about wine, about 60% will say ABC (anything but Chardonnay). I can’t help but think that this attitude is due to drinking a cheap bottle a few years ago and being put off for life or not realising it’s true potential. The wine industry has grown up and become a lot more refined, so have the wines.
I urge you to give it a go, if you’re a beginner to it the best thing to do is match it with food, it’s a delight with roast chicken, a creamy pasta dish, risotto or meaty white fish. Look for a Chilean bottle (spend a reasonable £7 or more) and I think you may quite like it.