Hardy's Wine Blogger Challenge!

I LOVE white wine.  I have to admit though that I will always choose a Pinot Gregio or, failing that, the driest wine that is on offer. Australian wine brand Hardy's have seen a notable trend in the number of consumers who are putting down their Pinot Grigio and their Sauvignon Blanc and suddenly re-discovering a love for Chardonnay.  With this in mind they challenged me to host a blind Chardonnay wine tasting party with a small group of friends to coincide with International Chardonnay Day on 23rd May.

Did you know... Chardonnay  is the number one selling white wine in the world, and a Chardonnay   renaissance has hit the UK.  Australian Chardonnay is enjoying a particularly strong resurgence growing by 6.9% compared to 1.4% for Chardonnay as a whole. Chardonnay is also the main grape that goes into making champagne and many other sparkling wines.

Hardy's sent me 6 bottles of their finest Chardonnay and left the rest to me!  Nick hates any kind of wine, no matter what colour or type.  I knew that I would have to be a little bit clever at getting him to try the wines, so I came up 3 amazing Chardonnay based recipes, both sweet and savoury.

Chicken and Chardonnay filo tarts. These were delicious, so much so that everyone was disappointed that I had only made 12! Tender chunks of chicken cooked down in Chardonnay with a delicious creamy sauce- heaven!  The best part is that Nick absolutely loved them- wine and all!

Raspberry and Chardonnay Blondies.  This is the white chocolate version of a brownie, with fresh raspberries and a generous dash of tasty Hardy's Chardonnay.  Extra gooey and extra tasty, heaven!  Again, Nick couldn't get enough!

Cup cakes with Chardonnay icing.  A classic cup cake with a tasty, creamy Chardonnay butter icing, a lovely twist on a classic!  Another
very popular item on the table!

So, to the blind tasting.   I wrapped all of the bottles in foil so that nothing was given away.  We were armed with small glasses and a sheet of paper to write down our tasting notes. It is very important to cleanse your palate between tasting each wine, so we had some fresh bread sticks on hand!

We numbered the wines and wrote down our tasting notes.  We then compared what we had written to what was on the official sheet, and tried to match the wines together.  There are 4 main principles to wine tasting-

Look- Look at the colour of the wine, tilt the glass and examine. 
Swirl- to release the aromas of the wine, swirl it in a glass and give a deep sniff to take in all of the flavours and smell. 
Sip- Take a good sized sip, hold the wine in the mouth and swish it around and really think about the taste. 
Savour- Draw in some air between your front teeth 

With that in mind we got tasting!  Here is what we came up with as a group for each of the wines:

Wine 1- Smelt sweet, perfumy but really zesty. Comparing it to the tasting notes I was sent, we guessed HRB Chardonnay (R.R.P: £16.00)

Wine 2- Smelt like fruit pastels, fruits and had a smoky oaky taste. We guessed it was the William Hardy Chardonnay (R.R.P: £9.99)

Wine 3-  Lemony, peach, fruity, cordial like. We guessed it was the VR Chardonnay (R.R.P: £6.99)

Wine 4- Pineapple, fruity, smooth. We guessed it was the Nottage Hill Chardonnay (R.R.P: £8.00)

Wine 5- Light oaky flavour, creamy smooth texture and taste.We guessed it was the Stamp Chardonnay (R.R.P: £7.50)

Wine 6- Lemony, fruity, zesty and creamy. We guessed it was the Stamp Sparkling (R.R.P: £9.75) which was kind of a give away as the only sparkling wine!

To our complete shock, we managed to match every single wine correctly! We couldn't believe how much we were able to recognise the different flavours within each wine once we put our minds to it. It was time to celebrate and toast our victory! We picked a glass of our favourite each, which for me was the Stamp Sparkling.  A perfect excuse to use my new glitter wine glasses from Magic Glitter, which I will be write about soon!

We had a great evening, and it really opened our eyes to how many different types of Chardonnay there are, and how if you put your mind to it, you can be more of a wine connoisseur than you thought you were. The next time that I have any wine, I will definitely focus a lot more on what I am tasting, and not just ask for the driest wine on offer!

Using the wine in recipes showed that you can experience the flavours I many different ways, and it is possible to enjoy the flavour even if you don't like wine!

L x