Olympic Spirit: Gaia Estate Assyrtico Wild Ferment 2010, Santorini and some Chardonnay Medal Candidates

After a short “creative (or sluggishness)” break, I’ll try to convey some Olympic Spirit to you guys out there! In the limelight it got to be wine from Greece! What else?! It is the Gaia Estate Assyrtico Wild Ferment 2010 from Santorini and two late nominations from Burgundy and Pfalz.

Gaia Estate Assyrtico Wild Ferment 2010, Santorini

The grapes for today’s headliner were grown on the upland vineyard of Pyrgos on Santorini Island, infected by wild yeast strains and fermented/aged in new French oak barrels. Its colour seemed rather bright-silver’ish-yellow and pretty fresh: At first the nose showed fragrances of lemongrass, green spice, strong freshness and slightly unripe walnuts. After 3 to 4 hours a lot of elegance evolved and a nutty-lemon nose combo showed. It reminded me uncannily of Puligny-Stuff! Maybe with a bit more spice. The taste was far different. At first! I got quite a lot of stern oak flavours, pithily style, assorted unripe nuts, strong and not so gentle acid, green lemons, slightly melonish, grated nutmeg, diffuse green spices and maybe some petrol. Pretty lean body and limited length. Approx. 5 hours later far more attributes of Chardonnay-like flavours and class evolved. Only close to alike! The strong fresh acid, lean structure and green spicyness were far more powerful and somehow gently-harsh, than a Burgundy Chardonnay (for example). I guess this certain French Associationism (on my behalf) might come from the skilful applied French oak. Whatever, that’s just me – very unique and tasty wine with a lot of aging potential. OK, potential might be one problem. No wine quality problems, only plastic problems in the neck of a bottle! Why? I will never understand that!

The day before I had two totally dissimilar Chardonnays from France and Germany:

Maison Chanson Père & Fils Meursault 2007, Meursault

Ok, I really don’t want to waste your precious time! So I’ll keep it short: The colour seemed pretty regular and fresh. The bouquet wasn’t that pleasurable. I guess I got impressions of pulp mixed with lemon juice, lime, seaweed and later some cheese-like scents. The taste was very acidic, got lemon-caramel, decent oak, strange Camembert cheese’iness, light nuts, seemed somehow artificially constructed and a bit rather light as well as simple in structure. Surely more than just drinkable, but pretty disappointing for a wine from my preferred Chardonnay appellation!

Weingut Knipser Chardonnay Barrique **** 2005, Pfalz

As already mentioned a totally different story! A totally modern, new-world’ish, intriguingly fruitful and hyper complex Chardonnay! The colour was gold medal golden! The nose seemed scented with graceful and spicy oak, showed tons of profoundly strong yellow fruits, quite a lot of exotic ones, candied lemon peel and later even some stony mineral’ish attributes. A very memorable nose! The taste was super fruitful, lush, exotic, absolutely not alcoholic and very broad. This liquidized eclectic and exotic fruit salad leaped right into my face and bit my palate. Pure gentle power combined with length and complexity! Very lively and invigorating acid. This and the gently integrated alcohol differs this Pfalz Chardonnay from so many of his New World brothers! Infinitely quaffable and long lasting! Normally not really my shoe of Chardonnay! Oh I better shut up! Really fantastic fruit juice!!!

Now the Medal Ceremony:

Gold Medallist: The powerful artistic gymnastics all-arounder Chardonnay from Knipser!

Silver Medallist: The juvenile and well defined 400 metre runner Assyrtico Wild Ferment!

(Barley) Bronze Medallist: The Worn Out 1500 m Swimmer Meursault from Chanson!

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