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Black Chook VMR 2008 - Australia

Offers complexity and a dynamic that you can't pass up

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Cleveland, Ohio is known for its extreme weather and harsh winters - and although us Clevelanders cannot complain about this past winter (due to its mildness and lack of snow), it is still nice to know that spring is just around the corner. Last week the temperature had reached sixty degrees one day and the smell of spring was in the air, the birds were chirping, the sun was shining, and most of all the winter jacket had been left at home. The sun was making all of Cleveland bright and full of energy, giving everyone a little impulsive taste of happiness and sunshine. As I drove to work on this beautiful day I had the windows down and the music loud: all reminiscent of the beauty that Cleveland has to offer during the spring and summer months. As I continued to try and think about the day ahead at work I could only think of one thing-- "if I were on a patio right now, what wine would I be drinking?” As I day-dreamed of patio wines for the rest of my drive, I realized every wine I would be drinking on a patio would be a white wine. Then in a bout of revelation, I realized I had not had one bottle or even a glass of white wine throughout these winter months, nor written a review about one-- and today was just enough sunshine and just enough warmth to crack open a bottle of white. I knew I had to get through a night of work but I was determined to soak up every bit of spring air I could and finish the night off with a bottle of white wine to enjoy with my co-workers. As I worked through the night I found myself constantly standing in the wine cellar in front of our white wine selection, determined to pick a great white that is going to embody this abnormally spring-like night while yet having enough depth to be able to drink on a colder night as well. I was looking for wine that would truly be the personification of this impulsive and much welcomed spring day.

I pulled out bottle after bottle and none of the whites were jumping out at me. I have to be honest; I am partial to red wines but I do appreciate a nice, complex and well rounded white wine. As I examined each bottle of wine I kept thinking that a white blend is essentially going to be the only wine that will satisfy all the characteristics I am looking for. I was getting a bit disheartened and almost settled for a blend of Gewurztraminer and Riesling, but I really did not want anything sweet. It was the last bin at the bottom of the wine cellar-- only one bottle left that I found my golden ticket. The bottle: 2008 Black Chook VMR blend, produced by the Galvanized Wine Group. I quickly ran out of the cellar and proclaimed to my fellow co-workers that I found our bottle. To my surprise not one of them was familiar with what a "VMR" blend was-- perfect; now not only were we going to enjoy a nice bottle of wine but we were going to have a wine lesson as well.

VMR blends refer to Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne-- all white Rhône varietals (we can picture this as a white version of a GSM blend). The main grape being Viognier, is followed by the Marsanne and finally a touch of Rousanne. This bottle in particular is about 84 percent Viognier and the rest Rousanne and Marsanne--all dependent on the winemakers taste. Viognier is known for being an abundantly floral and oily wine, while the Rousanne contributes herbaceous qualities and the Marsanne contributes to the richness and nutty quality of the wine. Though this is a white Rhône varietal blend, this particular blend comes from McLaren Vale Australia-- which is known for producing great Rhône varietal wines (both red and white).

After the quick lesson to the staff I opened the bottle of wine, the cork came out smooth and without resistance. The aromas rushed out of the bottle and instantly contributed to this warm early spring night. I poured everyone a taste and examined the color; pale yellow wrapped with golden undertones. Once we examined the color it was time to smell the wine: notes of wild flowers were abundant, followed by peach and apricot, all coming together with an herbaceous and nutty finish on the nose-- perfectly embodying all aspects of the different varietals of grapes. The bright floral and fruit notes were representative of a beautiful warm day, while the richness of the herbs and nuttiness contributed a more heavy smell and could suffice for a cold winter day as well. I knew I had hit the nail on the head without even tasting the wine yet-- this was going to personify this day to perfection.

After investigating the smell it was time to taste the wine. The first taste produced bright flavors of summer time-- peach, orange blossom, and green apple. The second taste brought all of those same flavors followed by a richness of pine nuts, herbs, warm honey, and a touch of vanilla. The body of the wine is light at first but finished on a medium note, the acidity is high but it is counteracted by the warmness of the oily texture that the Viognier brings. This wine truly is personifying this premature spring day better than I could have expected. The wine starts with bright summer notes but incorporates warm and deep textures, with a luxurious rich finish -- which makes it perfectly suitable for a colder day as well. This wine could pair well with a light summer dish-- such as grilled fish or salads, while also pairing perfectly with a pork dish as well.

The wine is relatively inexpensive-- on average around 17 dollars a bottle (wholesale), and offers an unusual abundance of complexity that is often not found in white wines at this price point. Wine spectator gave this wine 89 points, while Wine Enthusiast only gave the wine 86 points. Though this is not the cream of the crop for white wines, it does hold its own. It offers complexity and a dynamic that cannot be passed up and it is affordable as well. As mentioned before in other wine reviews, I take into consideration price as well as flavor when rating a wine. I am going with 88 points on account of its intricacy and price, making this wine Bombastic!

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