Sunday, 30 January 2011

Oaked Chardonnay from Baden

Going against my better instincts, I purchased this, Schneiders' premium oak-aged white wine, last week for EUR 12.80. I say "better instincts", because there was a time not so long ago when oak-aged Chardonnays were the last wine I would have chosen to buy. This is due to too many past experiences with vinous belly-flop fatties from the New World that smelt like sawdust and gave you whopping headaches the next morning.

Yet, if anyone could get it right, I was sure Schneider could.

Weingut Claus Schneider, Chardonnay "Barrique" trocken 2009, Baden
Jenny was put off immediately by the smell, which she equated to barnyard (which, if you had have seen the impromtu addition she made to my scribbled notes, is somewhat of a euphemism). Certainly, the aromas jumped out of the glass and evoked a certain whiff. Nevertheless, after this initial sensation, there were hints of yeast, banana and Schneiders' signature notes of chalk. The acidity was mild and the mouthfeel slightly chewy, albeit light years from the fatties of the Barossa. The oak was actually fairly well integrated, and the chalk notes helped stop the banana descending into bubblegum kitsch. On the following day, roasted peanut notes appeared, but minerally notes continued to provide firmness and interest.

No doubt a fine wine, if not entirely to my taste. However, I suspect it will show better in, say, three or four years' time, because there is a youthful awkwardness about it at present.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, the horrors and delights of barrique. Like you, I have been very sceptical. However, over the last couple of years I have come round to barrique and white wine - fantastic German Chardonnay and Pinot have played a role here, but also a few very nice examples from California (not usually my wine region of call). Now I just dislike badly barrique-d wines - a dreadful example was a German Sauvignon Blanc where all traces of fruit had been killed. Horror!