Saturday, 16 March 2013

Puligny Montrachet versus NSW Chardonnay - too close to call

We enjoyed one of our favorite Montrachets yesterday with lunch, that being the 2009 Bouchard Peres & Fils Puligny Montrachet.  This is a beautiful rich, creamy Montrachet yet balanced with ample citrus flavors.  It cost us $75 per bottle in Australia.  Thinking it sinful to use 100 ml of this fine wine for the mushroom and wild rice soup (see my post on wine math!) we are making this evening, and since there was only enough for one glass left over since yesterday, we opened a 2008 Tamburlaine Reserve Chardonnay made with grapes from Orange, NSW.  This fine wine is $30 per bottle and was made organically.  I bought a dozen of this wine several years ago, and it is one of the best organic wines I have ever had.

While the Bouchard lost a very small touch of flavor since yesterday, it was still drinking well.  The smell of the Bouchard was more evident than for the Tamburlaine, but the color identical.  I had my wife do a blind tasting of each and she could not tell the difference, and with a bit of hesitation, pointed to the Tamburlaine and said it was the Bouchard.  While I had the knowledge of knowing which wine was which, I also had a tough time deciding which wine I liked better.  Except for the more aromatic nose of the Bouchard, I have to say, I enjoyed both of them equally!  And for the money, the 2008 Tamburlaine Reserve Chardonnay from Orange wins hands down with regard to value.

The Tamburlaine tastes of orange (how coincidental being the grapes came from Orange!), mandarin and lemon.  It starts strong, but does not have quite the finish that the 2009 Bouchard Peres & Fils Puligny Montrachet has.  But it still packs a mouthful of flavor!  I would highly recommend this wine and all the organic wines from Tamburlaine.  They make good use of their Hunter vineyards and their Orange cold-weather vineyards to produce some outstanding wines, and if you are looking for organic, this is my wine maker of choice.  I have sampled a lot of organic wines and frankly, have not been impressed.  However, I am open to trying more and also giving a number of the organic wine makers another chance.  But Tamburlaine is the only organic wine maker from which I have purchased any wine!

While the Hunter Valley is known for Shiraz and Semillon, they are also the fine producer of some great Chardonnays, and so are the colder climates in NSW of Orange and Mudgee.  I am becoming a big fan of NSW Chardonnays, whereas previously, I was only drinking Australian Chardonnays from Margaret River.  Now I am seeking out and enjoying NSW Chardonnays at a fraction of the cost of the better Margaret River Chardonnays.

It was spur of the moment that I decided to compare side-by-side these two Chardonnays as I thought there was no comparison, but I was wrong and glad for the comparitive tasting I did.  Both are worth drinking, but for those of us in Australia, being able to buy Tamburlaine organic Chardonnays at a fraction of the cost of a good Montrachet is the way to go!

Steve Shipley
Twitter: @shipleyaust
My other blog (on business, tech, world issues):  Steve Shouts Out!

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