Tasters were generally surprised about how diverse these wines were, having a good range of flavors and textures.
Two wines were revealed as exactly the same bottling, and though they were perceived to be different tasted blind, they were both liked by at least four tasters. These two also had a distinctive sea-like quality.
Five out of the six were unoaked versions, including the winning bottle brought by Andy. While none of the entries were pricey, the two most expensive bottles came in last, with no points awarded.
Thanks to Claudine and Jonathan for being our guest tasters.
First Place: Jim Jim Chardonnay Unoaked The Down-Underdog 2007 (McLaren Vale). The favorite of the night by only two points, this exhibited aromas of grass, blueberry, Palmolive, bubble gum, chlorine, tropical fruits, limes, and apples. Very smooth in texture, with flowers, lavender, onions, fennel, red apple, and watermelon flavors. Balanced, consistent, and long. David called it "friendly". Four tasters gave this their top rating. Received 26 points. Andy's bottle. About $12.
Second Place: Penfolds Chardonnay Koonunga Hill 2006 (South Australia). Looked unfiltered and brighter, with citrus, smoke, rubber, honeydew, and straw scents. David thought that it "smells elegant", while Claudine thought of "Barbie doll". Super-smooth and balanced, featuring at palate of pink grapefruit, chalk, raisins, pear, mango, green peaches, and tropical fruit. Ali was reminded of "fields of sunflowers", and Claudine found "Catholic church on the finish". Received 24 points. Jonathan's bottle, and also his favorite of the night. About $8.
Third Place: The Wishing Tree Chardonnay Unoaked 2007 (Western Australia). Very light in color and having a nose of butter, raspberry, lemon tart, sea salt, and cream. Round, creamy and smooth in the mouth, though not as complex, with tasters finding golden raisin, apple, and almond flavors. Refreshing. Andy felt that it was "nice, but in a one-dimensional way". Kristin's favorite. Received 12 points. Claudine's bottle. About $10.
The Wishing Tree Chardonnay Unoaked 2007 (Western Australia). Lacking color, it prompted Andy to say, "This is your pale woman". Aromas of bubble gum, granny smith apples, lemon, chalk, sea water, and jalapenos. Andy noted that it "smells like the ocean". Macintosh apples and fresh herbs on the palate. The saline quality was described by Ali as "tastes like whale blubber". Received 10 points. Kristin's bottle. About $13.
Elderton Chardonnay Unwooded 2005 (South Australia). Tasters found notes of bad milk, tomatoes, cream, olives, petroleum, green apples, and socks on the nose. Andy was reminded of "wet campfire", while Jonathan noted "dirty underwear". Claudine found aromas of "burnt marshmallow". Flavors of movie popcorn, strawberries, and pineapples. Kristin noted that "this is what I don't like about Chardonnay". Rich, buttery texture. Andy found "too much lip-gloss". Initially served a bit warmer than the others, David felt that "this is just as bad when it's served cold". No points. Ali's bottle. About $15.
Trevor Jones Chardonnay Virgin 2004 (South Australia). Straw-yellow color. Exhibiting pine, citronella, cream, red apple, honeydew, wax, lemon gelato, and clover honey aromas. Kristin noted "pencil shavings". Strong on the attack, with peach and nectarine flavors. Paint thinner on the finish, which Andy described as "little mini stabs on your tongue". No points. David's bottle. About $14.
Thorn-Clarke Shiraz Shotfire Ridge 2002 (Barossa). Showed flavors/aromas of licorice, wet concrete, prunes, French toast, campfire, fig newton, raisins, blackberries, wet soil, bark, and eucalyptus. Dark, intense, extracted, and persistent. About $22.