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Wine of the Week for week ending 23 March 2008
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Dog Point Chardonnay 2006
Marlborough, New Zealand

Last week we opened the Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 that had been sent for review, to taste and to match with food.

Talk about mealy funk and leesy wild yeasts - this wine just reeks of it. Rich, full-bodied and textural yet smooth and creamy with caramel, toasty flavours, a lightly zesty citrussy undercurrent and a savoury richness with a smoky overtone this wine is just Wow! It's a wonderfully heady, powerful, oaky, savoury and intriguing wine with additional flavours of nuts, figs and even a hint of grilled peach. Citrus brightens the very dry finish and alcohol adds sweetness.

I had been experimenting with a chicken, peach and bacon combination during the height of our Golden Queen peach season (just finished), but even though there were hints of stonefruit in the wine, the food and wine match was really a no-go. I documented the recipe on my blog - see my March 7th entry "Self-saucing peach and blue cheese-stuffed chicken thighs with bacon" - and declared it was better with unoaked Chardonnay and perfect with Pinot Gris.

The Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 was better with the pieces of chicken wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven, something that can be made into small bites for a finger food match and skewered with toothpicks for serving.

I loved the wine and wanted to try it again the following night to see how the wine evolved with aeration, but when it came to tasting it, there was none left. My dearly beloved, who that night had tested my recipe, had used the last of the Dog Point Chardonnay in the cooking instead of the unoaked wine beside it. I have to say the addition of the Dog Point Chardonnay in the cooking took the dish up several levels - and the combination worked. But please do not repeat at home.

Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 is truly stunning, a wine you can really wrap your tongue around then glow in its pleasurable aftertaste.

Winemaking tech notes reveal it spent 18 months in French oak barrels, of which 20% was new. It has had full barrel fermentation with indigenous yeasts and 100% malolactic fermentation. It has 14% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork. It costs$36 a bottle.

I've since tasted the remarkable and off the edge Dog Point Marlborough Section 94 2006, an exciting style of alternative sauvignon blanc and the gorgeously savoury and Burgundian-like Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006. You can read more about these on my blog entry for March 18th - click here.

This trio of wines from James Healy and Ivan Sutherland, the wizards behind this becoming iconic Dog Point label, makes me think of the cliché, 'small but perfectly formed'. The small relates to the production, the perfectly formed to the outstanding quality of the wines.

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© Sue Courtney
18 Mar 2008

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