(traduzione del post originale a cura di Gavin Stewart)

An addiction to chardonnay is a risk that every white wine lover runs
in his or her drinking career. It comes down to the discovery of new
and forgotten vineyards which has brought wine lovers to search for
evermore aromatic wines and new emotions. But it is also true that the
real value of chardonnay’s ability to grow even on railway tracks has
become its Achilles’ heel in that many producers have, for speculative
means, capitalised the name of the grape to put galactic quantities of
third-rate wines in mass retail trades. It is true that chardonnay
maintains its immense appeal for the exquisite wines produced from it,
but it’s undeniable that at the same time it leaves a mild impression of
an industrial standard which appeals only to people who put vinegar on
their chips.

For this reason I admit I was a little
hesitant before following the advice of Nichole, my good friend from
Auckland – “Try out Cloudy Bay wines” – which she must have said enough
times to induce insomnia, followed by “They cost a bit but it’s money
well-spent”. The prejudice, cruel mistress of our life, wrongly directed
me towards the price-origin comparison to a French or Italian
chardonnay. “With 25-30 euros I’d buy Chablis any day”. Never had
reasoning been more mistaken, and fortunately my curiosity to try
something new prevailed this time.
First, a little intro to New
Zealand. Declared independent from Great Britain in 1907, New Zealand is
almost the same size as Italy and it has a humid but mild climate, not
experiencing, unlike Italy, the extremes of hot and cold weather across
the seasons. It’s made up of two large islands in the north and south,
North Island and South Island, as well as many island groups and small
islands. Rain is fairly constant across the country, but it’s never
torrential or long-lasting. What catches the eye is the perception of an
untouched land, in which you can travel hundreds of kilometres without
coming to a village. The sensation of an air far cleaner than ours is
all too evident. The New Zealanders seem to be part of the countryside:
they don’t speak all the time, they’re never in a hurry and they aren’t
obsessed either by money or by work. With an even distribution of
mountains, valleys and hills, New Zealand is divided into ten wine
regions, the most famous of which is without doubt Marlborough, at the
northern tip of the South Island. It is here in the Wairau Valley, at
the mouth of the river of the same name, we find the vineyards of Cloudy
Bay Estate, born in 1985 only to become a fundamental element in the
New Zealand wine movement thanks to its sauvignon blanc which back in
the day literally made people jump out of their chairs because of its
high quality. The Cloudy Bay surprise turned into recognised quality
thanks to a series of excellent wines, namely chardonnay, pinot noir and
So here we finally have it, the 2013 chardonnay, to
decorate my table and twirl in my glass, fermented and finished in
barrique for 12 months. Straw-coloured with golden reflections, body of
medium texture and notable legs in the glass thanks to its 14% alcohol
and the aforementioned support from the wood during the wine-making
process. It gives an impression of canvas to the olfactory sense. But
when other senses come into play this wine demonstrates its wonder: the
vague sensation of a typical chardonnay is torn away by a decisive nose
of vanilla, banana, papaya and ginger. Lively freshness and mineral
notes live in harmony and sustain a tension of tastes without
interruption. Just when you think you’d experienced the entirety of its
warm and captivating flavour, Cloudy Bay slaps you right in the face
with its complexity and reawakens you with stone lashings and constant,
faint herbaceous scents, with an after tone which is persistent to the
palate, but most of all to the heart.
Cloudy Bay is worth every cent of its 25 euros.
drank it as an accompaniment to sushi, because eating is to some extent
like travelling. Once I’d gone to Japan, it only seemed the right thing
to do to go a little further to New Zealand!