V) and (VG) For our 49th wine, we return to the New World to highlight the revolution in wine making that we’ve seen in Chile in recent years. For Chilean wines are no longer the ‘fruit bombs’ of yore but are increasingly elegant and mineral, as this Aconcagua Costa Chardonnay, which is made in a Burgundian style, demonstrates. It comes from one of Chile’s most famous producers, from vineyards barely seven and a half miles from the Pacific, of clay and slate rock soil. The 2016 vintage provided low yields, as grape ripening was very slow, which enabled the grapes to retain a zesty freshness. Bright silver-yellow colour, with a complex nose of vanilla, honeysuckle and quince. Very mineral on the palate, Chablis-like, though with vanilla and tropical fruit. A fresh and sleek wine, great with pasta, oysters, razor clams and creamy cheeses.
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Whenever fledgling wine regions have sought to establish themselves on the international stage they have planted Chardonnay. It is everywhere - from England to India and everything in between. The vanilla-scented, creamy examples which sparked such demand in the 1980‘s have moved on, but Chardonnay still has endless possibilities ranging from crisp and flinty, biscuity and toasty to unctuous and buttery. From easy drinking through to super-serious, there are few grapes which reflect so clearly the climate in which they‘re grown or the hands of the winemaker.