I received this wine as a gift from a close family friend a few months ago. They weren’t exactly wine enthusiasts, so I wasn’t sure if it had been preserved and cellared properly, but that kind of risk is inevitable when it comes to wine.
If it was still drinkable, then there are a few assumptions we can make – with 12 years of ageing, it would be highly likely that the primary fruit characters would have mostly faded, and even through the tinted glass you can see that the colour of the wine had deepened. As usual, final judgements cannot be made until you open the wine for tasting.
- Clarity: Clear
- Intensity: Medium
- Colour: Amber
- Condition: Clean
- Intensity: Medium
- Development: Fully Developed
- Sweetness: Dry
- Acidity: Medium
- Tannin: N/A
- Alcohol: Medium+
- Body: Medium+
- Flavor Intensity: Medium
- Finish: Medium-
- Quality: Very Good
- Readiness/Cellaring: Drink now, do not cellar
- Identity: Australia / Hunter Valley / Chardonnay
- Price: High-priced ($23)
- Long, thick tears with gold rim
- Aromas of honey, walnut, tea leaves, musty
- Flavours of honey, lemon, walnut, lemon peel, tea, yeast (?), toast
- Slightly oily texture, clinging to teeth and sides of mouth
- Reminds me of Madeira, oxidative/yeasty characters
- Try with cold, simple chicken salad
This wine was closed under cork, and considering the age of the bottle I judged it wiser to use a set of wine prongs to open the wine, as a corkscrew would have a higher chance of breaking the cork and dropping pieces into the wine.
I did a bit of research beforehand and found one well-known website list the “drink by” date for this wine as 2008. Was I six years too late to drink this wine? Not at all, it just would not have been as fruit-driven as it would have been in it’s youth.
There happens to be something called Coates Law of Maturity, which says “a wine will remain at its peak (or optimal) drinking quality for a duration of time that is equal to the time of maturation required to reach its optimal quality”. 2008 (the suggested “drink by” date) minus 2002 is six years.
If the wine could be safely enjoyed for a further six years, then opening it today in 2014 was pretty good timing. Personally, I was just glad that the wine was not corked, and anything else is part of the experience.
I would suggest that you read my review of another Chardonnay to get a better idea of the differences between young and aged examples of this varietal. You will see the main differences are colour, development and flavour/aroma profiles.