Pinnaroo Partners Reserve Chardonnay 2013
It’s happening — I’ve begun to develop taste for Chardonnay and the wine which started me on this way is Pinnaroo Partners Reserve Chardonnay 2013. True, there were other Chardonnays that I liked, but their common trait was that they didn’t really taste like a typical Chardonnay (if you are after wines like that, try Tasmanian Winter Brook Vineyard or Marion’s Vineyard), while the Pinnaroo’s creation is the first wine with Chardonnay varietal taste to which I give thumbs up. And it’s a welcome development as I struggled to find another variety which would have such noble taste. The closest was Fumé Blanc, but this method is not popular among Australian Sauvignon Blanc winemakers.
I first tried Pinnaroo Partners Reserve at Pittwater Food and Wine Fair 2016. It had unmistakable varietal aroma, left no doubt that the wine was oaked, and reminded me of honeydew melon. The taste was mellow, with buttery and sweetish flavour of a toasted croissant, and gave me electric tingling on the tip of the tongue.
When four months later I opened the bottle my first order of business was to find a good food match for this wine. That proved to be a non-trivial task and here is an account of my struggles.
Grilled salmon — not good. Somehow the bitter notes in wine and fish conflicted. I blame salmon for that; it shouldn’t have any bitterness. I guess whoever gutted that fish punctured its gall-bladder and I didn’t check for yellow spots when I bought it. Anyway, it’s the last last time I buy fish in Woolworths. The last time was when they sold me barrumundi smelling of chlorine, but it was a few years ago and I decided to give them a second chance. Always an optimist!
Next was egg and bacon potato bake — nah, not really. Nice try, as they say, and that’s enough said.
The previous two pairings were opportunistic and the results were disappointing. After that I adopted a scientific approach, conducted some research (a fancy word for “googling”), and found that Chardonnay was supposed to be good with pumpkin ravioli, but not with seared salmon! Apparently, salmon isn’t good with Chardonnay regardless of the state of its gall-bladder.
The second recommendation has also checked out. What I found in my local supermarket wasn’t exactly ravioli, but pumpkin and leek cappelletti (same thing, different form) which Olga then cooked with butter sage sauce. I am not a vegetarian and when ravioli or dumpling is served to me, I expect to find some kind of meat inside. If not for the pairing recommendation, I would never ever buy pumpkin wrapped in pasta dough. After tasting those cappelletti I can confirm that I will most likely never buy them again, as the only argument for it is that it really went well with Chardy — it softened the hard bits in the wine taste and emphasised oak, not the bitter part.
|Date of purchase:||01/05/2016|
|Date of tasting:||17/09/2016|
I have also experimented with cheeses. The recommended cheese was Cheddar, but what I had in the fridge was Havarti and blue cheese — life isn’t perfect, eh? Anyway, Havarti didn’t do much to Chardy — more like the other way round: Havarti tasted like more intense Havarti, Chardy remained the same.
I had more luck with Tasmanian Coal River Farm Blue. Chardonay added a fruity contrast to this sharp, picante, salty and stinky cheese, but it was mostly lost in the bold taste of the blue.
After trying all those food matches I came to the following conclusion — Pinnaroo Partners Reserve Chardonnay 2013 is best on its own. I almost decided to buy a case of it, but when I checked Pinnaroo website I found that it would cost me $30 more than I expected for the case. The Show Special price was just amazing — $15. Now that the show is over the price has reverted to $20 a bottle. Still reasonable, but you know how it is when reality does not align to your expectations… So I am still thinking.