Said Mr. Munich Wine Rambler to a bottle of Lake Constance Chardonnay: "There's nuthin' in this town 's been a surprise, 'cept for you". Oh no, wait, that wasn't me, that was Kevin Costner, the romantic free-grazing, sharp-shooting cowboy in "Open Range", to Annette Bening. But that was exactly my sentiment when I took the first sniff of this 08 offering, my last bottle (for the time being) from the Staatsweingut Meersburg.
After a long, joyless day, any glass of wine would have cheered me up, and I wasn't expecting anything special, really. A white that would work with the nice pumpkin soup set before me, not too acidic, not too thin, with some smooth buttery notes (yes, it had indeed been that kind of day). But as it happens, this eloquent, outstandingly matured Chardonnay surprised and charmed me far beyond my modest designs:
Lovely dark straw colour, bordering on gold. A haunting nose of flowers, some of them withering, very ripe mirabelle (yellow plum) and baked banana. Intense, but still fresh on the palate, herbal, a lot of hay, mellowed apple, baked pumpkin and some candied fruit. With a light touch and a sense of confident maturity, this all comes together.
A marvellous wine, that, even for a sceptic of the grape such as myself, demonstrates all that can be charming and satisfying in an unoaked Chardonnay, but also transcends it: I was somewhat reminded of good Loire Chenin Blanc, not least by the ripe apple aspect. Anyway, a great example of what Germany can do outside of the Riesling box - and so very unexpected. Highly recommended.