Thursday, July 16, 2009

McGuigan Bin No. 156 Chardonnay 2007

I've been seeing a lot of McGuigan recently. They are a brand that seems to have been increasing in visibility for the last few months (maybe years?) in the places that I shop. They have their own range of wines, and they produce some own-label stuff for the supermarkets as well.

My first taste of McGuigan was a Shiraz (I think it was this one) that I had bought for plonk, and wasn't terribly impressed - it was pretty boring. I have basically avoided them ever since, lumping them into the "mass market plonk" category along with the likes of Jacobs Creek, etc. But because I can't resist half price offers, and also because I was specifically looking for a Chardonnay, I though I would give this a try. At £4.99 it's hard to go wrong.

Well, I didn't go wrong, but this was pretty dull as well. Dull as in "technically correct, but boring". Perhaps it's just a matter of taste really. I like my Chardonnays buttery, malolactic-fermented, vanilla-spiced and complex. This is more along the likes of acidic, crisp and (somewhat) fruity. I'm wondering if a couple more years in the bottle to tame the acidity would improve it, but not sure if it has the fruit and depth to keep up. Again, nothing wrong with it but just not really to my liking. For that reason, I wouldn't buy it again, but I especially wouldn't pay the full price of £10 for it.

And whoever thinks new world wine labels are simpler than old-world, think again. What does "Bin No. 156" mean? Judging by the (full) price and the description on the label, this is some sort of quasi-premium offering. Keeping track of all the "bin" numbers and such, for each Australian producer (i.e. Penfolds) surely isn't any easier than memorizing a region and, perhaps, a vineyard in Burgundy.

Bin No. 156 Chardonnay 2007
New South Wales, Australia
£4.99 (£9.99)

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