‘The popular conception of Australian Chardonnay is that of a thoroughly industrial, acidified, full bodied, vaguely oaky, branded wine sold in high volume at heavy discou
nts to the undiscerning’
Not my words, but those of wine guru Jancis Robinson, writing in 2008.
There is probably some truth in that damning judgement, but Australian Chardonnay was nevertheless one of the great successes of the wine world in the Nineties and even into this century. Beloved of Bridget Jones and millions of ‘Sex in the City’ fans, it sold by the million cases all over the Western world and introduced a whole generation to Australian wine.
Then, as with all things fashionable, it went out of fashion, with its decline helped along by the ABC (‘Anything But Chardonnay’) movement. It has not gone away of course- large quantities are still produced in South East Australia, but it is getting hard to find these wines at Tesco- not to mention on a wine list.
A new generation of Australian Chardonnay is growing up and some interesting examples were introduced by Brian Walsh, chairman of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority and John McDonnell, Ireland’s own Australian wine guru, at a Masterclass in the Royal Hibernian Academy, venue for this year’s Australian Wine Fair.