The grape variety for which Belgian winegrowers have received the most attention is Chardonnay. People in Sweden to whom I’ve served Belgian Chardonnay, as well as professional British wine writers, have on occasion believed that they were actually drinking Chablis. Some wines more heavily oaked than most Chablis, are also produced. But hey, cold climate-grown Chardonnay – shouldn’t that be something that would be well suited for sparkling wine? Since I hadn’t tried one earlier, I couldn’t resist a bubbly from Genoels-Elderen, which is the most well-known Belgian wine producer, but one where I have previously only tried still wines.
Genoels-Elderen Zwarte Parel Chardonnay 2007
€ 17,90 at Mig’s.
Light yellow colour, good mousse. Rather elegant nose of citrus, white flowers, hint of biscuity aromas. Medium bodied, quite dry, fruity aromas of grapefruit, high acidity, hint of citrus peel-type bitterness, long aftertaste. A well made, crisp sparkling wine with very pure aromas. 86-87 p.
It had been possible to trick me into believing that this was a Champagne in the shape of a young, reasonably decent non-vintage Blanc de Blancs. Sure, it lacks the more pronounced biscuity aromas and complexity of a great or mature Champagne, it lacks that extra concentration to be found in good vintage versions or in wines from prestige producers, and it also hasn’t got the minerality or elegance of a well made Côte de Blancs. But the aroma concentration is quite OK and indicates, together with the pure aromas, that quite good grapes have been used here, the acidity and crispness in Champagne-style, and it is not without elegance. This is a wine the producer should be satisfied with.
Perhaps more a bubbly to use as aperitif than to the main course, but should work with something like lighter seafood dishes.
Oh yes, the name: zwarte parel is Dutch for “black pearl”.
The Swedish version of this post can be found here.