Tag Archives: Chardonnay

On the Twentieth day of Christmas my wine rack gave to me a SubRosa Chardonnay

Chardonnay rhymes with Tuesday right?

This Chardonnay is an absolute cracker in the lead up to Christmas. It’s a Chardonnay hailing from SubRosa wines in the Grampians – a cool climate region in Victoria, Australia.

Behind this brilliant wine is brilliant winemaker Adam Louder. Adam has many years of experience in the wine industry, having worked in Bordeaux, the Napa Valley, and now in Australia. Adam’s wealth of experience really shows in SubRosa’s wine case, and this Chardonnay is no exception. The grapes are handpicked, and are pressed as a full bunch, which is means less fruit damaged, and tonnes of flavour.

The wine is refreshing, and I feel has a slightly modern take on the classic Chardonnay. With melon and citrus flavours coming through, it has a slight acidity level to it. While some Chardonnay’s are big on that big buttery taste, this one is not so much, and is an absolute delight to drink.  The other big plus is that it comes at a price tag of $25! Everyone’s a winner!

The name of the wine also has a great story behind it:

“SubRosa is latin for under the rose. In ancient times, a rose was hung over the table as a mark of secrecy. What was said or happened around the table, stayed at the table.” http://www.subrosawine.com.au

 

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Here I’ve paired the SubRosa Chardonnay with a fresh home made pasta topped with Chicken, Mushroom and Asparagus in a white wine sauce

Until next time winos,

Cheers

 

 

 

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Dom Pérignon, THE bubble man. The story of Champagne

 

If there’s one man we need to thank in this world, it has to be Dom Pérignon. This 18th century monk is THE bubble man that created and founded champagne. The best thing about this story is that it was all by mistake!

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THE bubble man and I

Back in the day, monks from the Abbey of Hautvillers (where Dom Pérignon came from) worked on the vineyards to produce wine. Even though the monks were making wine, their wine making reputation of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay wines were not so good.

Dom Pérignon wanted to change this, and revamp the wine that was being made. His aim was to make it a more enjoyable drink – As all wine should be!

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The Abbey

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Inside the Abbey

Being in charge of the cellars, Dom decided to implement a few changes to the wine making process….

He introduced an oak wine press from the Burgundy region

Instead of foot stomping the grapes, the oak press extracted the white juice from the red grapes through a soft, slow press – something that had never been done before!

He introduced Pinot Noir to the region

This variety is one of the key grape varities in the Champagne mix – Chardonnay, Mourvèdre, and Pinot Noir

He was the first to mix grape varieties together

Talk about a match-maker master!

He was the first to put wine in a bottle!

A crystal see-through bottle in fact!

This was a big development in the ‘World of Wine’. Being able to see the bottle contents meant that you didn’t have to worry about whether it had poison in it.

People were so brutal back then!

He also made the bottle a flat bottom bottle. This too meant that it prohibited people from popping explosives in the base of it. Again, so brutal!!

He was the first to put the cork in a wine bottle

Dom brought this innovative technique to Champagne from Belgium where they corked beer bottles.

To produce the cork, cork trees were then planted in the Champagne region. Not sure about you, but when I hear cork trees, all I can imagine is a tree growing little wine bottle corks on it.

 

How the magic happened

While Dom Pérignon was in the process of making wine, it was during the 2nd fermentation where all the magic happened.

When the yeast and sugar mixed, the wine started to produce carbon dioxide, and as a result 18% of the bottles exploded. This was due to the sheer pressure built up inside the bottles from the carbon dioxide. Whoops!

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Hooray for mistakes!

With such a strange occurrence happening during the wine making process, the townsfolk thought it was the workings of Satan.

While there were still some bottles in the mix that didn’t explode, they decided to taste them and boy where they surprised! It’s been claimed that they felt like they were drinking the stars. This iconic moment is featured on the label, with the one star.

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Notice the star on the label?!

While you’re probably thinking they were drinking the champagne as we know champagne today, back then it was a very VERY sweet syrupy wine – 400g of sugar with bubbles on top to be exact. That’s 2 cups of sugar in a bottle!! Talk about a sugar hit. Most fortifieds have only a quarter of that sugar content.

So how did champagne become what we know it as today?

There were many great influencers over the years following Dom Pérignon.

Madame Clicquot (Verve Clicquot)

A century after the discovery of Champagne, Madame Clicquot didn’t want to wait until dessert to drink the sweet wine. She discovered that the yeast and sugar could be shifted to the neck of the bottle by conducting a rotation of the bottle, slowly moving the bottle to sit upside down – known as riddling.  She discovered this process from placing the bottles in the holes of her table.

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An example of what her table would have looked like! So much wine!!

Once she completed the riddling process, the top of the wine bottle was frozen and the sugar and yeast was removed – known as disgorgement. The wine was then topped up with more wine. This process also made the wine a lot more clearer.

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Thanks Madame Clicquot

 

Madame Pommery (Pommery)

In 1874, Madame Pommery decided it was still too sweet and reduced the wine sugar content even further from 150g to 10g

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Madame Pommery didn’t like the sweet life

 

While Dom was not necessarily behind the Champagne we know today, he is the king of the blend and technique of Champagne.

I take my hat off to him, if I was wearing a hat, and thank him for giving us this bubbly goodness we pop to drink for special occasions, and just to enjoy a glass of those sparkling stars.

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RIP Dom Perignon

A couple of fun Dom facts

The world’s most expensive bottle of Dom Pérignon is €2000

Every Dom Pérignon is a vintage wine, meaning that the bottle comes from the best grapes from the region in one year. If the Dom Pérignon is not a good vintage, it then off it goes to Moet and Chandon.

 

Until next time winos,

 

Cheers

 

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Yay or Nay for the Chardonnay – Australian wine lovers it’s time to charge your glasses

No matter how you pronounce it, whether it’s “Shar-don-nay” or as TV funny ladies ‘Kath and Kim’ put it, “Car-don-nay”, Chardonnay is finally back. Yay!

 

A few years ago, the Chardonnay market was huge, largely positioned towards the affluent wine drinker. What used to be known as an expensive bottle of plonk, wineries saw an opportunity to jump on board, and produce a cheaper variety that would be suitable for all wine drinkers – cue the influx of terrible Chardonnays.  This is what I like to refer to as the ‘Kath and Kim’ era of Chardonnay – the era that really ‘boganified’ the Chardonnay. These lower quality Chardonnays were the types that made your right eye twitch, and neck pull back in a strange and uncomfortable way.

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For me, this ‘Kath and Kim’ Chardonnay era ended one fine evening when I was at a wine tasting event sampling an array of Sauvignon Blancs. A winemaker stopped me in my path and handed me a glass of Chardonnay. He insisted I try it, stating – “it will change your life”. Wow, change my life? How can a wine change my life?

I finished off my Sauvignon Blanc tasting, and took the glass of Chardonnay in hand. With one eye on the glass, and one skeptical eye on the winemaker, looking like a deranged person, I took a sip. With that one sip, my mind was blown. Finally, the great tasting Chardonnay I once loved had returned.

 

The more and more different Chardonnay’s I sampled, the more and more tipsy I became; and of course the more and more I became a converted Chardonnay addict again.

 

It seems as though Australian wineries are now a lot more educated on producing this variety of wine using better quality oaked barrels in the process. With oak being one of the critical stages of producing a Chardonnay, bear in mind that quality French and American oak barrels don’t come cheap. Remember the old age saying, “You get what you pay for”? Well this totally rings true for the Chardonnay. While you may need to fork out a little extra for a bottle than you normally would for a bottle of white, you will be treated to that dry crisp finish you once loved. You will also have an abundance of choice, thanks to the many wineries that have now perfected their releases.

 

If you’re still a ‘Nay’ towards Chardonnay, try it out again and you too will be saying ‘Yay’ for Chardonnay.

 

Here’s two of my favourites – click on the bottle to go straight to purchase. You’re welcome.

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Until next time winos,

 

Cheers.

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