Continued From The Henschke Lenswood Croft Chardonnay Post
With a series of nine incredible wines sitting in front of us, it was a true challenge focusing on just a few at a time. Although the table started off inwardly focused, each person methodically working through the gauntlet of spectacular Chardonnay, within a few minutes chatter began to envelop us. We were so excited by the balance and complexity achieved in several of the wines, we just had to share and pick each others’ brains.
Alex Gambal Fixin: 2nd Place
Located in the extreme north of Burgundy’s Cote de Nuits, Fixin produces exponentially more red wine than they do white. Although famous regions like Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanee are located only a short commute south, the terroir in this miniscule sub-region never achieved an equivalent level of fame. Something as miniscule as slope and orientation to the sun can take a vineyard from exceptional to pedestrian without a second guess. That being said, this leaves consumers with a excellent opportunity to snatch up underpriced wines with character and finesse worthy of everyday.
Like most burgundian producers, Alex Gambal is a little obsessed with his grapes. He employs minimal intervention techniques like native yeasts during fermentation, allowing his wine to be transfered to barrel by gravity instead of pump, and never filtering his wine as to not strip it of any of it’s character. This specific chardonnay undergoes fermentation in 40% new oak which imparts a delicate texture and hints of vanilla and butter.
In the glass the wine is deceivingly pale; clear lemon with a silver tinge. The nose has a lovely mix of lemon zest, chalk, carrot cake, fried yams , flint and pressed flowers. Everyone agreed that although there was a more awe-inspiring expression, if we had to choose one to sip daily, this would be it. The texture on the palate was silky from front to back leaving you with the gentle prickle of well integrated acidity. Notes of toasted walnut and clarified butter rose from the finish giving it a grounding earthy quality. I personally ranked this wine second in the grand scheme of things.
Released this year, Frightened Rabbit’s new album Pedestrian Verse contains many of the same traits I observed in the wine. It is one of those creations that could find it’s niche in the background of conversation between two friends or be the centre piece of an afternoon’s worth of active listening and reflection. Slightly rustic, masterfully orchestrated and heart wrenching when focused upon, each song brings it’s own gentle twist to the indie-folk genre some have tucked it into. It is an album that asks as much of you as you do of everything else.