Yesterday I went on BBC Breakfast to chat about chardonnay. Apparently – brace yourselves – chardonnay is back. Well for some of us it never went away. John Major might once have declared himself an ABC (Anything but…) man but I make it a rule of life not to take advice from a man who tucks his shirt into his underpants. As for the (not too squishy and surprisingly comfortable) orange BBC Breakfast sofa, my mum was on the phone the moment I got out of the studio with two burning questions. They were:
1. WHAT IS NEV FROM THE CALL CENTRE LIKE?
Um, I don’t know. I didn’t meet him. Sorry.
2. My friends have all texted to say they loved your shoes. I told them they were just Marks and Sparks. Is that right?
Yes, they were £25 – here.
Quite a lot of BBC Breakfast viewers quite rightly had a third question: why on earth didn’t you tell us what the wines were?
The short answer is that the BBC said it didn’t want to mention retailers. Then seconds before we went on air, someone dashed over and turned the bottles round so the labels weren’t visible to the camera. “Aren’t we showing what they are?” Asked one of the presenters. No, we were told. 3-2-1….it wasn’t the moment to remonstrate.
Anyway, the three wines were:
1. Montgravet Chardonnay 2012 France (£5.99, Waitrose)
Clean, modern, quiet, gentle, a bit lemony, fairly mild. This one’s a good party wine.
2. Wolf Blass Chardonnay Yellow Label 2012 Australia (widely available, try to buy it on offer as it is in Waitrose* at about £6.66 rather than the fake full price)
Altogether bigger and bolder, but not the horrendous claggy clang of pineapple chunks and sun tan lotion that Aussie chardonnay used to be. It’s not so much ‘new-style’ as toned down. If you haven’t tried it for a while have a look – I think you’ll be surprised. Some professional wine tasters have mistaken previous vintages of this for top white Burgundy. And that’s quite an accolade. This was Charlie’s favourite wine.
3. St Clair Chardonnay 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand (I’m as confused as anyone here. I had nothing to do with choosing this but the researcher told me he picked it up because I’d said I liked New Zealand chardy. I saw the bottle for just a few hot-necked seconds before going into the studio and, googling madly on my iPhone, couldn’t find this particular cuvee on the producer’s website – and now I can’t remember what it was called.)
Anyway, I do remember the numbers – I always remember the numbers – it was 13% abv and cost £22.50, the researcher told me. It tasted of white peaches. Delicious. This was Louise Minchin’s favourite of the three.
More from me on drinking chardonnay in the Telegraph here.
* If this feels like a Waitrose-sponsored piece that’s because while I gave the BBC a varied list of chardonnays available from different retailers they chose to do all their shopping in one place. For time reasons I suspect. Also they refused to use any own-labels because of branding concerns.