2015 Ballabourneen Hunter Valley Chambourcin

As a wine drinker one of the 'dilemmas' is what table wine goes with chocolate, particularly dark chocolate ? What matches chocolate that is high in cocoa content, is already tannic and can be bitter ? Whites usually don't do it and some reds and fortified wines will cope. But I'm throwing an interesting and overlooked red variety into the mix: Chambourcin. 

After a friend said to me recently that she thought this combination of dark chocolate and Chambourcin worked really well together, I did the due diligence and came to the same conclusion. Dark chocolate has a great synergy with Chambourcin. It's not a sexy, hip, wannabe variety by any means but it's a box ticker when you combine them both. Velvety lusciousness. So go try.

Chambourcin is a dark-skinned teinturier French-American hybrid grape available since the early 1960's that is more at home in the United States and Australia than in its native France. Capable of withstanding fungal diseases in humid, sub-tropical growing conditions, the variety is found throughout most New South Wales and Queensland wine regions where such conditions prevail.  

This wine from Ballabourneen Wine Company is sourced from vineyards at Lovedale and Broke-Fordich in the Hunter Valley and exhibits opaque dark brooding crimson hues.

Blood plums, black cherries and herbaceous spice aromas with notes of what can be described as a fur coat factor. Yes ! Don't ask but there is a waft there of some small, furry animal. Not unpleasant, just different. There are subtle red earth, chocolate, earthy beetroot, pepper and dark red fruits flavours across a medium bodied palate. It's all fresh and juicy, sweet fruited and subtle in texture. Length is fine and velvety with dark chocolate and dusty tannins on exit. The wine to me sits between a rustic Pinot Noir and the smooth qualities of a Merlot, it's got that personality.

Really tasted better as the evening progressed. An extra point for solving the 'dilemma'. Well-crafted wine from a variety that undeservedly gets a bad wrap in Australia. Very good.

Source: Sample courtesy of Ballabourneen Wine Co. ABV: 14.5%. Closure: Screw Cap. 
Price: $26.00. Rating: 92 Points. Website: https://www.ballabourneen.com.au


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