The Wall Street Journal’s Jay McInerney recently wrote a very interesting article about the growing influence of sommeliers in shaping wine tastes. Our guest editor David Hawkins of One Aussie’s Wine (an Aussie wine buff now living in New York City) followed up with an insightful post about how the shift away from big, ripe, concentrated wines to more elegant and artisanal offerings is part of a wider cultural phenomenon that favours quieter, sophisticated fare, as witnessed by the critical success of the silent movie “The Artist” and the current dearth of loud rock music! (Why Sommeliers are the New Restaurant Stars by Jay McInerney, The Wall Street Journal 25 February 2005)

Their observations resonated when I was researching the understated yet gorgeously complex Savaterre Chardonnay, which yields from a family-owned vineyard perched on a ridge looking out to the picturesque Victorian alps in Beechworth, Victoria.

Interestingly, the Savaterre website lists the names of  Australian restaurants which feature its wine on their lists. It reads like a who’s who of country’s best: Tetsuya, Guillame at Bennelong, Vue de Monde, to name just a few.

According to McInerney, sommeliers tend to prefer wines that display freshness and balance over power and concentration because they work better with food.

Crisp, clean, complex and elegant are words commonly used to describe  the Savaterre Chardonnay.  Little wonder then that it’s a top pick for the very best fine wine lists!

It is also a wine that ages beautifully. I was very fortunate, courtesy of David, to enjoy a bottle of the Savaterre Chardonnay 2004 over Christmas. It was a brilliant example of the ageing potential of beautifully made Australian chardonnays. Still light in colour, a delightfully fresh bouquet slowly revealed nuanced aromas of stoned fruit, citrus and hazenuts as … Read the rest