Posted on 09.08.19 Wine of the Week

Introducing #WOTW: a classy Chardonnay

I love Chardonnay and I love a bit of oak.  There, I have said it.  Chardonnay went out of fashion at the hands of the ABC (Anything but Chardonnay) movement, but that nonsense now seems to be behind us.  There’s no doubt that oak was overdone a decade or so ago, especially on some cheaper wines where oak chips were added to the wine, rather like adding a bag of kindling.  To me, oak is about some barrel influence.  Chardonnay and wood have a wonderful affinity and, when it’s done properly, oaked Chardonnay is an absolute joy.

The 12th Man from Wirra Wirra is a great example, with perfectly integrated oak adding a certain je ne sais quo.  2019 sees Wirra Wirra, in the McLaren Vale, celebrating two milestones: the winery is 125 years old (to think we still patronisingly call it “the new world”… what nonsense) and it is the 50th anniversary of its rebirth at the hands of Greg Trott.  He is behind ‘the 12th man’, the name of which has something to do with his love of cricket.

Tropical fruits abound, with ripe peach and apricot, smooth buttery texture and a gentle smoky toastiness.  It’s a great wine for a roast chicken supper, but it also went down well with a knocked together supper of penne with baby courgettes – plucked from the garden – extra virgin olive oil, a touch of chilli and Gran Padano cheese.  Check it out at The Wine Society (if you’re not a member, then consider joining, as it’s a wonderful institution), good value at £16, or Oxford Wine Co where it’s £20.  And do let me know what you think?

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