Chardonnay Marsanne, star of the Pfeiffer Parish

 Chardonnay Marsanne, star of the Pfeiffer Parish
Pfeiffer, Carlyle Chardonnay Marsanne, 2008 Australia, 13.5%, €14.55 Karwig Wines 

Carlyle is the name of the parish where Australia’s Pfeiffer Wines  are based and Chris Pfeiffer is so proud of this Chardonnay Marsanne wine that he named it after the parish.

This is about as local as you can get and these little things are important. I remember New Zealand wine-maker Tim Finn, one of the wine pioneers there, speaking in Star Anise before Christmas and mentioning one of his little blocks and its peculiar suitability for producing excellent wine from a certain grape. But Tim was in no doubt what would happen to that little parcel if a major wine company took over. It would just be dug up and the most profitable vine planted.

And that would inevitably lead to less and less choice for the consumer. The survival of the family farmer, be it in dairy, meat or wine, will ensure choice in the long term. It is important and a point underlined by Darina Allen in last week’s Ear to the Ground when she pleaded strongly for the survival of the small butcher.

 Chris is one of these passionate family wine-makers and, fortunately, they do exist and quite a few of them find a market here and indeed visit regularly as you can see here.

Chris (left) showed this wine a few months back at an Australian Stickie evening in the Hayfield. I was impressed with it then and perhaps more so now after a longer “study session”.

Colour is pale yellow with hints of green and the nose is aromatic. On the palate, you sense immediately something fresh and rare. Lets you know it’s there, a lively little number, yet the unusual grape duo produce quite a smooth creamy combination, a very nicely balanced wine, with a dry persistent finish.

When Chris and his wife Robyn (who also attended at the Hayfield) took over the winery in the mid 80s, they were delighted to receive important practical help from their neighbours, even if the nearest of the new friends lived about 40 miles away!

Chris was representing those same Rutherglen neighbours and fellow winemakers at the Hayfield and was every bit as eloquent in promoting their wines as in pushing his own, perhaps even more so. He is obviously proud of his area. No surprise then that he named this one after the parish. It is a lovely wine from what must be a lovely place.