It often takes a vertical tasting to really get a fix on a wine. Over the weekend, the 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008 of Missionvale Chardonnay from Bouchard Finlayson (not sure where the 2006 had got to). I was inclined to think of Missionvale as quite substantial but these four vintages demonstrated that this is actually quite an understated wine. Always from Hemel en Aarde Valley grapes, it typically spends 7 months in oak, 30% new.
Straw yellow, green tinge. Citrus plus a slight rancio note on the nose. Relatively light in terms of fruit weight but still relatively youthful with zippy, lemon-like acidity.
Deep straw yellow. Rich and ripe with yeasty, honeyed notes. More obvious tertiary character than the 2004. Smooth textured, soft acidity.
Pale yellow. Shy nose. Lem-lime fruit, bright acidity. Good weight and flavour intensity. Slightly thicker textured than the others. Well balanced with a long, dry finish.
Straw yellow. Riper fruit in evidence, also more obvious oak-derived vanilla note. Moderate acidity, relatively short and simple compared to previous vintages.