September 2013 Meeting - Chardonnay & Tempranillo

Alison and Mike presented a selection of wines based on two grapes (Chardonnay and Tempranillo) showing how different climates or oaking processes can make a significant difference to the final wine...


The white wines are all Chardonnay but from different wine regions around the world. Aim is to show how different climates and regions can produce very different wines.

Petit Chablis, Union des Viticulteurs de Chablis (2011)     [£9.99 for 2]

The Chablis region is the northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region in France. The cool climate of this region produces dry wines with more acidity and flavors less fruity than Chardonnay wines grown in warmer climates. The wines often have a "flinty" or steely note.

This particular Chablis is made from younger grapes and gives a bright and easy drinking with an absence of oak giving a distinctive ripe apple and citrus flavours. It is crisp with notes of lemon and a refreshing steely minerality.

Catena Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Mendoza (2012)  [£9.99 for 2]

The second wine is from Mendoza in Argentina and is a blend of grapes from three high altitude vineyard sites in the foothills of the Andes. Mendoza is the leading producer of wine in Argentina (around 60% of all Argentinian wine). As of the beginning of the 21st century, the vineyard acreage in Mendoza alone was slightly less than half of the entire planted acreage in the United States and more than the acreage of New Zealand and Australia combined.

This wine has a unique character that has natural balance, concentration and a distinct taste. It has hints of mango, banana and apple, with a hint of sweet spice and wet stone minerality. Full yet clean on the palate, with pear and fig fruit flavours rounded off with fresh, crisp acidity.

Giesen Chardonnay, Marlborough (2012)   [£7.99 for 2]

A classic New Zealand wine that comes from an estate located in the Marlborough region (northeast of the South Island). Some portions of this wine have been fermented and aged in French oak before blending, followed by several months' fermentation. The strong contrast between hot sunny days and cool nights help wine growers extend the ripening period of their vines like nowhere else, resulting in unique expressions of their grapes.

This wine has crisp acidity and a subtle mineral tinge. It is dry, ripe and richly aromatic wine has intense fruit aromas of white peach, nectarine and grapefruit with hints of brioche, toasted almond and subtle ginger and spice hints. Fresh, fruity and lightly creamy palate texture.


Tempranillo is a national Spain grape, rarely found outside the country, and responsible for the fine wines of Rioja.

Matsu El Picaro 2012 Toro    [£7.99 for 2]

We start with the least oaked wine. This wine is a youthful wine from the Toro region (just NW of Madrid). The grapes come from mature vines of over 90 years of age, but the wine spends only 6 weeks in new French oak barrels, thus preserving their natural fruit profile.

Vivid crimson-purple in the glass. Aromas are of ripe blackberries and raspberries, with subtle hints of fresh cocoa and liquorice. The palate is bold yet supple, with ripe tannins and a mineral grip.


The last 2 reds are both Rioja.

Rioja Reserva 2008 Viña Eguía         [£7.99 for 2]

This vineyard is located in the heart of the Rioja region in northern Spain, in one of the area's winemaking hotspots. The traditional reserva style is achieved through 24 months' ageing in French and American oak and 2 years' cellarage before release.

Beautifully deep ruby coloured, with a deep complexity of ripe red fruits, spices, tobacco and liquorice. The bouquet is warm, complex and powerful with a long after taste. The palate has weight yet an elegant profile.

Rioja Gran Reserva 2004, Bodegas Muriel   [£10.99 for 2]

Finally, this Gran Reserva comes from Bodegas Muriel, an excellent producer located in the heart of the Rioja-Alavesa region (again in northern Spain). It is a mature Rioja from a top vintage producer and has had 30 months in oak barrels and 3 year in cellars.

Deep and noble that gradually opens up with a wonderful blend of aromas and flavours. Intense mature fruit of vanilla and spices from the oak blends with mature fruit character and evidence of extended bottle ageing the form of leather and tobacco leaves.