I had dinner last night with two of my favourite parishioners. Really sweet people; the food was delicious (vegetarian, but I don't mind that once in a while, though I'd prefer it to be a Friday so as not to waste another day), and the wine nice, too.
With one exception.
Mine host was very anxious for me to try one particular bottle. I had mentioned to him that I liked most wine, but wasn't fond of New World Chardonnays: I'd rather have retsina, frankly, though I didn't say that. I said that I loved French chardonnays, however, like Chablis (it is a chardonnay, isn't it?). He, thinking I was a French wine snob, I suppose, proudly produced a bottle made by an Australian who has large-heartedly left his native Oz to teach the French a thing or two about wine-making, and is now making Oz-style chardonnays in France. So you can still be a snob and drink New-World chardonnays.
Now, there are many New World wines I really love—the country is not the issue. And, I'm sorry to say, the wine he produced didn't disappoint. I hated it. Why can't somebody go from France to Australia and show them how to make Chablis? Is it really too hot there?
Still, I don't really imagine that all the French DOC vineyards are really going to be taking this challenge seriously. We've just got to keep buying the good stuff, I suppose, and wishing it cost less……
Now, if you like New World Chardonnay (and why not? some people even like Harvey's Bristol Cream), you can make your own. Take one bottle (or more) of white wine. Use a chardonnay grape if you like, but it won't make much difference by the end. Uncork it, and leave it in the garage for five years or so. Now, brush off the cobwebs, and pour all the wine into a large saucepan. Reduce it by half. Add several large spoons of golden syrup. If the resultant mixture is too gloopy, you could always top it up with water, I suppose. The colour should be like old urine. Now, export it to the French and see what they say.
All this makes me sound like the most awful wine snob, and suggests that I have cellars full of precious vintages which I have amassed over the years with money from the parish poor box. Not at all: I just don't like New-World Chardonnays and I wanted to blog about it. But then I suppose you've gathered that by now.