It's raining outside too, but it's wetter in my heart. No, Jill hasn't left me, it's just that at that time of day when I'm normally pulling the cork on something appealing, I find myself with three bottles of wine that I'm not expecting much from. Still, if I start with my expectations low, then I may be pleasantly surprised. And in the wines I've tried so far, it's not been entirely depressing. Jacob's Creek is still the star turn, but I hadn't expected Echo Falls and Stowells to perform as they did. I'll be on more from both labels in the next few days, but today I'm trying Chardonnay blends, two of them from Banrock Station, the eco-friendly bit of Hardy's Australia, or Constellation Wines as I think it's now called. Yes, there is a Banrock Station with vineyards, but as with Jacob's Creek, very little of the wine under the label comes from there.
Banrock Station Colombard Chardonnay 2005, South Eastern Australia
I'd have expected a younger vintage of a wine like this - let's see if it's showing its age. Hmm, the Colombard freshness has dissipated leaving a rather simple Chardonnay with reasonable lychee and peach flavour, but none of the zip it would have had a couple of years ago.
Banrock Station The Reserve Chardonnay Verdelho 2006, South Eastern Australia
This is a bit fresher. It's also a bigger wine, but it's not overblown, with the musky pear edge of Verdelho adding extra layers to the peach'n'citrus Chardonnay. It's not as butch as Thursday's Chardonnays, although its extra subtlety doesn't mean it's a more interesting wine - still think I'd take Bin 65. Not a smart buy at its regular price of £9.40, but look out for half-price deals from time to time.
Wolf Blass Red Label Chardonnay/Semillon 2007, South Eastern Australia
The Blass Chardie was the plumpest on Thursday, and it's also the most buxom of today's trio. My mouth is left feeling rather overwhelmed by both ripeness and by the 'heat' of alcohol, even though it's only 13%. Not a style I admire or want to encourage, like a fat girl wearing a thong.