This is our first tasting of a wine from the Chardonnay grape. This variety comes finds its origins in Burgundy in France. It is home of the highly rated Chablis, Montrachet, Macon, Pouilly-Fuisse with their characteristic hazelnut aroma and tastes of marzipan with round and buttery flavors. In the 1980’s and 1990’s Chardonnay-mania spread throughout the world to the point that in Robinson’s Oxford Companion of Wine states that Chardonnay, is now “North American for ‘white wine'” but its high yields result in lower quality wines. Picking time is critical becaujse, unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay can quickly lose its crucial acidity in the latter stages of ripening. Although Chardonnay can thrive in relatively hot climates, it has to be picked before acids plummet (sometimes before the grapes have developed much real character). This is why it is not especially well suited to hot Mediterranean wine regions and well-balanced Chardonnays with real interest from the likes of Greece, Israel, and the Lebanon tend to be exceptions.
Our experience tasting Adir’s first attempt at producing a white wine bears out what Robinson says. Although its price is up there at 90 shekels ($25), and its mountain spring aroma and peach ice cream taste is tantalizing, it is just too thin and watery to rate more than a grade of “D” in the israelwinetaster grading system. This translates to our opinion that is is mediocre and not worth the price and not worth drinking again.