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August Wines of the Month: Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2009 & Casa Santa Eufemia Special Reserve White Port

I’m dreaming of a white August.  These two whites set my pulse running last month.  

The first, Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2009, stood out at a “Thirty Years of Eileen Hardy Chardonnay” vertical chock full of impressive wines.  Not just as a drinking experience.  Also because it was the one and only vintage to be made from 100% Tasmanian fruit.  In next Monday’s report of this eye-opening vertical, you’ll see how the inclusion of Tasmanian Chardonnay in Eileen Hardy was a game-changer.  The 2009’s thrilling acid structure says it all.

White Ports make wonderful summer drinking.  Try a Port Tonic – one part White Port, two parts tonic with ice, lemon and a sprig of mint or basil.  But there are some striking aged examples around which, served chilled, are both refreshing and complex.  I came across Casa de Santa Eufêmia Special Reserve White Port (an undeclared 1973 Colheita) at Taberna do Mercado one muggy evening last week.  It blew me and my lawyer pals away.   We savoured it at the end of our meal straight and straight – no tonic, no food.  A glass to linger over.

Hardys Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2009 (Tasmania)

A single region is represented for the first time since the Padthaway era.  Incidentally, fruit was sourced from the Tolpuddle vineyard for this wine, so it’s interesting to see the resonance between this wine and Shaw + Smith’s single vineyard Tolpuddle Chardonnay, which I’ve reviewed in this Friday’s post.  A super snappy, galvanising palate exudes edginess/energy with steely, slatey grapefruit, salted limes, icing sugar dusted green apples.  Wonderful persistence.  Going back that snappy, dagger-like acidity strikes home again.  I pick up an intriguing note of laurel/bay leaf too.  Great ageing potential.  Terrific.  13.9%  If they still stock it, it’s a great buy at Wine Direct at £28.98/bottle or £25.98 when you buy two.  UPDATE: Wine Direct have advised that they currently only have 2008 and 2010 vintages in stock.  Both great vintages – check out next Monday’s report on the vertical for my reviews.

Casa de Santa Eufêmia Special Reserve White Port (Porto)

Serving this delicate, ever so refined White Port from 1973 chilled showed off brilliantly its amazing freshness, purity and line.  Not  words which I’d typically associate with an aged Port like this which has spent so long in wood.  It has a lick of honey to its almond accented dried stone and apple fruit.  Even the stone fruit is delicate – as if on the cusp of ripeness.  Persistent acidity makes for a long, beautifully balanced finish with a hint of orange peel spice.  Wears its 108.1g/l of residual sugar very well indeed (especially chilled).  Very impressive.  20% abv.  £9.90 by the glass at Taberna do Mercado; it is imported into the UK by Casa Leal.

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