Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scarborough 2010 Blue Label Chardonnay

The Scarborough winery in the Hunter Valley devotes considerable attention to Chardonnay, arguably the global king of white grapes, though a second class citizen in a region (justifiably) dominated by Semillon. Still, they manage to produce very reliable, regionally expressive, modern interpretations of Chardonnay in a variery of styles.The Blue Label is the entry level, accessible wine in this range.
It smells and tastes of subtly spicy ripe peach and yellow nectarine fruit (the fruit flavours being what I like to call the Hunter 'fruit salad' flavour), though on the palate there is also a nicely balancing squeeze of lemon and a hint of lemon zest. Overall there is generous fruit flavour at the front and mid palate, a velvet like texture, finishing gently with some spicy old oak and subtle smokiness.

Good value for money and a nice example of a modern classic hunter Chardonnay: it has the flavour and the fruit, the oak is not overdone, though present, and there is enough zing to make it a refreshing wine to drink with several different dishes. Despite the arctic weather on the east coast of Australia at the moment, it's summertime, drink up.

Rating: 90pts+ (+ is for dinner party versatility and its ability to make a Sauvignon Blanc drinker understand they can get their ‘fix’ plus so much more without resorting to their white wine of choice).

ABV: 13.0%
Price: $20

EDIT: In light of this interesting article on Australian Chardonnay styles by Huon Hooke in a major Australian broadsheet newspaper (link: here), I would specifically note that this wine is on the leaner side of ripe. It may be a symptom of trying more and more of the modern Australian Chardonnays that are in the leaner, 'Chablis' style that I refer to the 'ripe fruits' in this wine. Compared to the derided 'Dolly Parton' 1980's era oaky tropical chardonnay, the Blue Label is more on the taut and trim side of things. However, it is not anorexic (a fate befalling more Australian Chardonnays as the lean trend mentioned in the article continues to gather pace). For the price, I maintain it would be a popular choice for many, especially who like the 'just right' category of fruit to acid/lean balance.
RB 13/12/11

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