jamie goode's wine blog: Cloudy Bay, located

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cloudy Bay, located

Was recently sent a bottle of the 2004 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay, along with information about a new service, cloudybaylocator.com. So I try both out, beginning with the website.

We start off with one of those annoying age verification screens, beloved of the legal departments of large drinks companies. How daft they are. If you are an underrage drinker, why would you want to find information about the nearest restaurant to you that sells Cloudy Bay? Would reading about wine suddenly whip you into a fervour such that you hang outside wine shops begging people to go in and buy you a 15 Sauvignon Blanc?

So I type in a DOB that makes me 14. I get greeted with the message, 'sorry you are not old enough to end this site'. 'End this site'? IT contractors aren't what they used to be. So I type in a DOB that makes me 560 years old. Straight in.

My closest restaurant serving Cloudy Bay? Incredibly, it's 11 miles away - Ransome's Dock - a fine restaurant, but I'm amazed there's not one closer. That means no restaurant in Richmond, Twickenham, Hampton, Chiswick, Kew or Putney stocks Cloudy Bay. Or perhaps it means that some do, but they are unable to offer an electronic booking service. If you click on the restaurant's name, then you can reserve your bottle of Cloudy Bay, be it the zippy Sauvignon, the bold Chardonnay, the focused Pinot Noir or the rather sexy Te Koko along with your table reservation. That's a smart idea.

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2004 Marlborough, New Zealand
This is the ultimate new world Chardonnay. There's lots of everything, and if you are in the mood for it, it's a compelling glassfull. The nose shows rich tropical fruit combining with some spice, a bit of smoke and some vanilla oak. Indeed, there's a hint of malt whisky on the nose. The palate is bold and full, with tangy, herby tropical fruit, a bit of citrussy zest, spicy complexity and some sweetness from the alcohol. It's concentrated and powerful, with the oak playing a supporting role rather than grabbing central stage. With boldly flavoured food, this is a winner. Very good/excellent 92/100

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At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Shon said...

It's a myth that Cloudy Bay wines are hard to obtain - my local Spar, admittedly a superior locally-owned version, has an offer of 2 Cloudy Bays for 30! I'd much rather they told us where and how to get hold of their Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Douglas Blyde said...

Majestic at Vinopolis has it for 15.99 (reduced from 19.99).


At 3:41 PM, Blogger Ben said...

Age verifiers are daft. Just add /main at the end of the web address and it skips it.

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

What a load of Cloudy cobblers. This from a winery that produces a cool million plus bottles per year and whose product is readily available in supermarkets, off licenses, the high street and at excruciatingly high prices in so many restaurants. It is over-priced, over-hyped and very much over here. What next? A web-site called Cloudy E-Bay where you can place your bids to buy these ubiquitous wines?

A few years ago I did a survey on restaurant wine prices for Caterer magazine and found that Cloudy Bay anything warranted a special Velcro "Rip-Off" Award for the most consistently highly marked up wine on any list. The reason? The law of supply and demand created by the allocation system. Nifty marketing. But anyone who orders a wine like this in advance has been truly suckered, because 1. how do you know what you are going to eat until you get to the restaurant 2. are you sure you are not going to find something else on the list which you might prefer to drink.

At 7:07 AM, Blogger ~ Phyll said...

Was at the winery a couple of years ago. More impressed with its neighbor across the street...Alan Scott. Best winery find was Te Whare Ra for me personally (very hard to get here in the US...their gewurz is consistently lovely).


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