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Wine of the Week for week ending 23 December 2007
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Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Why is it that one week a wine can enter a wine show, competition, or magazine tasting and receive a gold medal or five star rating? Then in another week, in another wine show, competition, or magazine tasting, the wine ends up with a bronze medal or no award? It's a true scenario with this week's Wine of the Week, the Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006. There's something about the wine that seems to polarise judges. Perhaps in the shows where it just does not do well, it is just not the judges' style. I'm sure don't know why because every one of my chardonnay loving friends, who tastes and drinks this wine, just loves it and when I blind tasted it in a judging situation last September, it was easy to award it a gold medal rating.

So with this in mind, I selected the Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 for the Exclusive Bremerton's Christmas lunch, a very exclusive affair with just our four wine options team members and two of our partners. I selected this wine because I knew Bill just loved it. It was served blind of course, because I wanted to see how he would react. And you should have his drooling expression and look of contentment and pleasure on his face when he tasted it.

The wine is golden but in the light of the room and around the kitchen table where we were eating, it looked reasonably developed.

The gorgeous, mealy, barrel-ferment perfume, tinged with vanilla, flowers, smoke and stonefruit, is heady. Smooth and seamless in its delivery, the silky textured flavours are rich and nutty with stonefruit, winemaking complexities and savoury French oak coming together in harmony with a freshness and a little lift of acidity, in the form of citrus and tropical fruit, to the finish.

There is no doubt this is a big wine, but it was magnificent with antipasto lunch, particularly the melon and prosciutto as well as platters of cured meat and some amazing white Italian cheeses.

There was no doubt, in all our minds, this was an absolute star. The only doubt we did have is how long it would cellar, because it seemed to be drinking magnificently right now and in the blind tasting, the team picked it as 2004. But who knows, that could have been because of the way the wine had been stored.

Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 has 14.5% alcohol by volume and is closed with a Diam cork. It costs in the vicinity of $38 to $40 a bottle. Please someone this festive season and indulge in this delicious wine.

Sue Courtney's rating - Five stars, Gold Medal standard.

Other results this 2007 year

    Bragato Wine Awards - Gold
    NZ International Wine Show - Gold
    International Chardonnay Challenge - Bronze
    Liquorland Top 100 - Bronze
    Hawkes Bay Wine Awards - Bronze
    Air NZ Wine Awards - no award

We ate at the The Bruschetteria at Elliot Stables. Read more about this in the December 18th 2007 entry on my blog.

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© Sue Courtney
18 Dec 2007

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