Saturday, December 26, 2009

2007 Niagara Escarpment

2007 Malivoire

2007 Malivoire Estate Chardonnay, VQA Niagara Escarpment

I picked up this bottle at the winery, as I wrote about earlier this month. Of the three chardonnays produced here, this showed as the least oaky. This bottle proved otherwise. Just a complete fall off the cliff, after tasting the aforementioned 1996 Baron-Fuenté.

Pale colour, which was a surprise, but the nose shows all the heavy-handedness that is plaguing New World wines. Of course, 2007 was a scorching, powerhouse vintage, but even then, the wine is struggling to prop up all the oak. Just an overbearing creamy, buttery, vanilla-laden slap across the face. Showing no subtlety, no nuance. The fruit begins to emerge with some time, but the oak is covering everything like a layer of sludge.

My palate is delicate - I hesitated to taste it after the nose. Perhaps this is when I should begin being more diplomatic. There's a layer of thick, creamy, almost syrupy oak, with just a bit of citrus and apple showing. So sweet and almost cloying in its sweetness. It's shocking that this is supposed to be a dry table wine. Sweet chardonnay, from oak of all things, is not pleasant, nor representative of a terroir wine. There's almost a filmy layer of extract on the finish.

Just not a success for this producer, which is disappointing. I like Malivoire chardonnay - I remember being quite surprised at the quality of the 2006. With such a hot vintage in 2007, there needs to be balance, and this wine lacks the drinkability and terroir-signature of fine chardonnay. This shows as a clumsy wine, meant to satisfy pool-side drinking tastes of neophyte yuppies. Which is a shame. And I remember this bottling to be the least oak-influenced. I shudder to imagine the wood splinters you have to pick out from your teeth after drinking Moira and Mottiar.

DF

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