If I'm honest, which I sometimes am, then I have to admit that until I visited the Margaret River, I hated chardonnay. Truly detested it. Wouldn't have poured it down the drain in case a cockroach had the misfortune of drowning in it. It just wasn't my cup of Tetley's.
Then my epiphany arrived. I accidentally tried one at Wills Domain, and it was good. I intentionally tasted one at Ashbrook, and it was better. And after that, I was ordering it straight up on the rocks at every cellar door I visited. Most were excellent. Some, like Leeuwin and Vasse Felix, were exceptional.
The regional influence is huge. If you haven't tried a Margy chardy, you really should forget about all that Kath and Kim ignominy and go West for a little tipple. Certainly though, you should try it without ice-cubes. And preferably, not from a silver bag.
Of course, at $80-odd, we can't all (and certainly I can't) stump up for the Leeuwin every day of the week. I was therefore enormously pleased to see a good friend unholster one from his cooler bag at the weekend.
The first thing you notice is that it is the effulgent colour of clarified butter. More yellow than a cowardly canary singing Coldplay, it overflows with a galaxy of stars that seem to be shining just for you.
The body is visibly thick and creamy. The nose, brilliantly lively and vibrant. And at this price (for 750mls no less!), I could happily dab a little on my wife instead of perfume and then take her (and what is left of the bottle) out for a nice steak dinner.
Since this wine is a bit of a rock-star, it will not surprise you that many critics have apparently discovered an entire orchard of fruit somewhere in the glass. Me? I only get lemon, honey, and maybe warm, buttery toast - but that is more than enough. It builds as you swill it in your mouth, and delivers a deliciously long and tannic pucker in the swallow. It is utterly and unctuously, scrumptious.
I usually don't "get" art. But I sure as hell get the Art Series.
Drink with: Buttery fried scallops