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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Anything but...

I never got the ABC thing - why would you not want to drink chardonnay? A bunch of idiots decided that chardonnay was boring so started Anything But Chardonnay because they were too stupid to see what chardonnay has to offer. Let's examine this. Chardonnay is a grape so, be default, can be no more or less boring than any inarticulate living thing. Ah no, they say, there's a lot of dull, homogeneous chardonnay wines out there. Oh right, so it's the winemakers who are boring then? Well, why didn't you all get up off your backsides and find the good chardonnays, the ones that show the range of styles and flavours this grape offers? Because you're lazy - end of story.
By the way, if my comments offend anyone, good - and don't bother complaining because I won't listen.
Chardonnay comes after riesling, in my opinion, but far exceeds other varieties in the range of wines it can produce. Crisp and lean or broad and round, with or without oak, big and massive or light and delicate they're all possible. Chardonnay is also a very savoury grape - it makes wines that go so well with food. So, if you're the kind of person who finds wine confusing (which it can be) and you're wondering whose opinions to follow in re chardonnay, let me help you. Listen to me - drink more chardonnay. Then learn about wine and drink loads of other wines as well BUT never, ever just follow the herd and stop drinking some of the best wines you can buy.
It's 07:15 here and, as you can see, I'm not an early morning person!
Yesterday we kicked off with chardonnay and had a lovely tasting, all of the 2006 vintage: Tyrell's Vat 47 (Hunter), Cullen Kevin John (Margaret River), Vasse Felix Heytesbury (MR), Leeuwin Estate Art Series (MR), Shaw + Smith M3 (Adelaide Hills), Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard (AH), Giaconda Estate Vineyard (Beechworth), Bindi Wine Growers Quartz (Macedon Ranges), Stonier KBS Vineyard (MOrnington Peninsula), Oakridge 864 (Yarra Valley), Tarra Warra MDB (Yarra), Freycinet Vineyard (Tasmania), Hardy's Eileen hardy (Tasmania, Yarra, Tumbarumba) and Penfold's Yattarna (Tasmania, Adelaide Hills, Henty).
This was a lovely range of wines, from the lemony wines of Margaret River to the classically big Giaconda to an excellent Yattarna. Overall, there were elegant, fresh styles as well as bigger styles but all showed great class. The Giaconda is an interesting wine in light of the ABC nonsense. It's big and fairly in your face (the Leeuwin falls into this category as well) but so what? These are quintessentially Australian in that the average Australian is big and friendly and these wines are like that. They're not big and loud, just generous and welcoming. hen you want a more delicate style (or if that's what you prefer) don't say these are bad, just switch to another wine.

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