“League of Three” Chardonnay 2020, Grant Burge

New on the shelves is a series of Aussie varietals.  Grant Burge is quite a big producer and I liked his previous offering (reviewed here https://atimeforwine.blog/2017/10/30/grant-burge-reserve-chardonnay/). It was big, creamy, New World and not one for the ‘ABC’ brigade…

This newcomer was, I’m afraid, actively nasty. It is the first wine in some time which was poured down the sink. The blurb read ‘this rich and harmonious Chardonnay delivers flavours of sandalwood, vanilla bean dancing lithely over toffeed oranges, chargrilled peaches, rockmelon … blah blah… our wine for your moment in time.’ Nope. This wine tasted of peanuts. Nothing danced. Nobody in their right mind chargrills peaches. Do ‘rockmelons‘ even exist? It tasted precisely of cacahuetes-flavoured extruded-corn-snacks popular in France. An American producer asked me to review their range of flavoured wines – a wine base with French Vanilla or Strawberry Cheesecake flavouring. I declined because they sounded like air-fresheners or those candles that come in jars. I would be expected to say nice things… It was kinder to say nothing at all.

This wine wasn’t intentionally flavoured with peanuts – even the US flavoured-wine market isn’t that crazy (I think…). The only cause for the taste of peanuts is contamination by Harmonia Axyridis, a pretty ladybird, which, when annoyed releases isopropyl methoxy pyrazine. This can contaminate an entire batch of wine and cause a taint (sometimes desirable) of green bell peppers, urine or peanuts. It occurs naturally in Sauvignon Blanc grapes (hence the pissy aromas one often detects). Other flaws (not faults – but it’s a fine line, subjective and dependent on the recognition threshold of the taster) like ‘Brett’ – the cause of ‘farmyard’ aromas – can be highly prized (in France) or cause the entire batch to be poured away (in Australia). ‘Ladybug’ taint is almost global – but has never reached Australia – so why this wine tastes like this is a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes; perhaps to be called ‘Holmes and The League of Three…’

Tasting notes: Initial aroma of peanuts. Not unpleasant or rancid. No secondary or tertiary aromas. Dry. Balanced. Initial taste of peanuts. Long finish of peanuts. Intense flavour of peanuts. No complexity. Just peanuts.

Wine Colour – White
Price – £8 reduced from £10; Currently 25% off if you buy any 6 bottles – so £6
Where do I get it from? Tesco
Current Vintage – 2020
Producer – Grant Burge
Grape – 100% Chardonnay
Region/Country – Limestone Coast/Australia
Verdict – Faulty

Pairing: This would go well with an epipen.

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