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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Confessions of a bin-end browser: Spier Chardonnay 2009 W.O. Western Cape‏

Some retailers have made discounting almost into an art form, with price being more a part of the marketing mix than a true indication of what the merchant thinks the product is worth.

Thankfully, the independents generally don't waste time and effort on this sort of befuddling nonsense and for them, the price is the price.

Occasionally, however, a clear-out of the warehouse reveals old stock or odd, leftover items that just need shifting and thus, as an inveterate bargain hunter, I found myself riffing through a selection of seriously marked-down bottles at Cambridge Wine Merchant's Mill Road store

Some I chose on price alone (for a few pennies, it can always go in the cooking), but this 2009 South African Chardonnay caught my eye as something that might actually be quite good - New World chardie is usually pretty reliable and I've never had a bad wine from CWM.

And so it proved - nutty, oatmealy, toasty, textbook stuff but with a hint of tarriness and a streak of ripe tropical fruit acidity holding it all in check. With more air, there is honeysuckle and orange blossom and a waxier texture.

Savoury, full-bodied and mouthfilling with just a hint of tannic buzz, it is distinctly New World, but more restrained than the 14.5% alcohol suggests.

According to the label, the company dates back to 1692, making it actually quite old for the New World, with grapes first pressed in 1712.

Match with typical chardie food - chicken (roasted or in a stew) or a Thai green curry. With its high-but-ripe acidity, it will also stand up to fattier meats, such as roast pork.

£3 bin-end from CWM, standard retail price £6.75.


Spier Winery - http://www.spierwines.co.za/

Cambridge Wine Merchants - http://www.cambridgewine.com/

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