‘Chandon Étoile realises a 25-year dream: to create a sparkling cuvée of unrivalled quality, and to place
Australia firmly at the international table of super-prestige sparkling wine’.
The Chandon press release doesn’t leave anything on the table. Honestly, the marketer in me loves that hyperbolic statement, and I can imagine writing it myself.
One thing isn’t in question – the premise of the Chandon Étoile MV is mighty ambitious. A ‘true multi-vintage release’, this sparkling white is made of eight Chandon Vintage Brut releases dating back to 2005, with 2013 making up 47% of the blend. Tiraged in 2017, then disgorged in late 2021, with some barrel maturation in the mix.
It sounds more like Krug than classic Chandon, no?
Given such aspirations, I thought this sparkling wine deserved a different road test than my usual testing regime (a deconstruction on the white stone and tiles of the AWDR tasting bench). So I took it to Bali, wrapping it up in the suitcase alongside this bottle of Tyrrell’s Semillon and a few cans of Hawkers West Coast IPA (one of the Graham house beers).
I figured that on holidays it would be an opportunity to drink it rather than just ‘tasting’ it. To really feel it, fresh out of an ice bucket, and treat it as a celebration drink.
So we popped the cork sitting on the hotel room balcony, watching the boats out in Denpasar harbour float past (you can see them in the distance i the pic below) on a typically warm 26C Balinese evening.
And I couldn’t finish the bottle.
Now an important caveat here is that Mrs Ozwinereview isn’t a giant sparkling fan, so it was up to me to do the bigger share of drinking. Thought by this stage of holiday life, over a week in, I was in drinking mode. Come at me, all of the cocktails/beers/everything. Yet still, I couldn’t quite fall in love with the Chandon Étoile MV.
I can, however, appreciate the quality here. There’s an unquestionably impressive array of flavours here – leesy lanolin, brioche autolysis, custard powder and lemon. Lots going on. Strictly speaking, I felt more like the bottle age plays a larger role than lees ageing, with some wooly aged characters on nose and palate.
Complexity is sky-high.
What I finally realised is that this was a sparkling wine to admire, not drink. You can see all the different parts playing a role – age, freshness, fruit, lees, acidity, oak etc – and technically it’s brilliant. Yet it all feels a bit cold and too perfect, the length not quite as resounding as the mid-palate complexity and lacking the gobsmacking crescendo through the finish that you see in great Champagne (and some great LD local fizz, for that matter).
I left at least two glasses in the bottle and went to bed.
Ultimately this is still a high silver medal-winning wine. A high-quality release and a great representation of winemaking skill. But I wanted a bit more than just a talking point wine – I wanted an emotion-stirring drink, and this didn’t quite do that like I wanted.
Best drinking: now. 18/20, 93/100. 12.5%, $120. Chandon Australia website. Would I buy it? A glass, for sure.