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Wine of the Week for week ending 24 February 2008
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Bouldevines Chardonnay 2006
Marlborough, New Zealand

Peaches - fresh peaches. I love them especially when they are freshly plucked right off the tree that I can see from the bedroom window. I've been lazing in bed the last few mornings and wondering who is going to get the peach at the top of the tree first -me or the pesky blackbird that has been hanging around.

That peach is still there but there are others that have fallen to the ground in the state of ripeness. Some have developed a few spots of brown, others - if you see them fall - can be pristine, unless the blackbird managed a sneaky peck or two.

Tonight we decided to make a peach sauce for the roast chicken - well that is I decided and Neil made it. One thick spring onion (long green onion) was chopped and sauteed in a little of the roast chicken pan drippings. The chopped up flesh of one and a half, ultra fresh, golden queen peaches (that is two peeled peaches minus the brown spots) were added. As the cooking peaches consumed all the flavoursome pan drippings, a splash of lightly oaked chardonnay was added, then before it got all mushy, a few drops of vincotto finished the sauce.

We used Vincotto Originale, which is made from Negroamaro and Malvasia grapes grown in Puglia, Italy. A few drops of this elixir, which is made a concentrated grape reduction and aged in barrel for four years, just adds so much depth.

The whole chicken was cooked in a Dutch oven, and the streaky bacon that was layered over the top infused its smoky flavour throughout. The chicken had a perfectly cooked moistness and the peach sauce added the 'x' factor. No doubt it was because they were our own peaches. I don't think a sauce like this could be simulated with canned or preserved peach.

Chicken and peach - the wine match is unconditionally and totally Chardonnay. And Chardonnay is this week's Wine of the Week.

It is Bouldevines Marlborough Chardonnay 2006. Ripe, rich and luscious smelling with toasty oak, it's a little grainy in texture on the first taste. Smoky savoury in its flavour with a touch of grilled peach, hints of apricot and underlying citrus, this tasty, rich, full-flavoured, smooth, seamless wine has a toasty savoury finish. It's a big wine with the flavours expanding on the aftertaste and hints of caramel butterscotch as it lingers.

We drank this wine over several days and it just got better and better and better. The fleshy stonefruit characters were intrinsic to the wine, they were well balanced by the smoky, savoury undercurrent savoury while the caramel / butterscotch just seduced every sense it could on the finish.

Most of us drink wines as soon as they are opened, but I've said it before and I'll say it again, a little aeration in the bottle and a couple of days can make the world of difference. Sometimes it can completely stuff up a wine, but not this wine. It went from a silver medal to a gold medal in my book. And a platinum medal with the food.

The grapes for this wine were grown on the alluvial rivers gravels at the famous (in Marlborough) Dog Point Road. Oak fermented with full malolactic fermentation, it matured in a mixture of new and older oak for 9 months. It has 14.5% alcohol and is sealed with a screwcap.

Expect to pay about $26 to $28 a bottle. You can buy online, or in retail and if you are in Marlborough, the 'Cellar Door' at 193 Rapaura Road, is now owned by Bouldevines Wines and their own products, as well as several others - including a personal favourite, Clayridge - are available for tasting and purchase here. Check out The Village.

I've had this wine before, because it won a gold medal at the New Zealand International Wine Show last September. Tasting the wine leisurely, with food, has taken it to a whole new dimension.

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© Sue Courtney
17 Feb 2008

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