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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Sunday, May 5, 2013

When wines are out of balance

Very recently I sampled two wines that essentially were true to the label - a Chardonnay and a Gewürztraminer.   Both undoubtedly contained (by law) at least 85% wine fermented from the stated varietal.  So far, so good.  However these wines were both totally out of balance. 

Someone not very experienced with wines may have bought them as an experiment and been put off ever buying a Chard or Gewürz again.

Wine judges, will tell you that an award-winning wine is one that is in harmony with itself.   Factors in the mix are qualities such as: fruit and other flavours, acidity, residual sugar, minerality, oak ageing, maturity, youth, tannin, length of palate, alcoholic strength, intensity and complexity.

The Chardonnay was a Hawkes Bay 2012 from a medium sized producer and cost $NZD 22.00  As a youngster you can’t expect much maturity, so it was pale gold in colour.  On the nose – not much.  Crisp apple, citrus, hardly any oak.  In the mouth – acidic, wimpy and light.  Dominated by grapefruit flavours and very little discernible oak influence.  Short finish – all gone from the palate in 5 seconds.  

The Gewürztraminer was from Marlborough and a 2012 at $NZD 24.00.  One the nose – floral overload of roses and geranium leaf.  In the mouth – like drinking perfume and totally dominated by the rosewater flavours.  Otherwise, no balancing acid or residual sugar, with a watery light mouth feel.

In both cases, the winemakers got it wrong.  These are medium to highly priced wines, widely available in supermarkets, and the average wine punter has been let down.
As always, wine buying is a gamble if you can’t try before you buy. 
Phil runs the best Auckland wine & food tours for sure.