Kumeu River Chardonnay 2007 Auckland, New Zealand

Kumeu Rivers 2007 Chardonnay is wine that tricks you, the nose says one thing but the taste buds tell a different story. My glass wafted clean oak and a very interesting vegetable fragrance, roasted Brussels sprouts. I had never picked up that smell from a bottle of wine before, and as big fan of roasted veggies, I found it quite pleasant – and original. I was expecting an earthy, grassy taste to follow up the sniff.

What came out of the glass, was an almost classic Burgundy white. Minerality, crisp-to-tart, dry, fruit. Not a hint of the Brussels Sprouts. The transition from nose to palate wasn’t just novel, it was an effective way to set you up for the crisp fruit and altered the drinkers perception.

Molecular Gastronomy practitioners often serve soup in a shooter glass where warm pea soup is topped off with cool pea soup, and it draws attention to not only how temperature effects taste, but expectation bends perception as the soup gradually turns from cool to warm. I haven’t had the pleasure of tasting the soup right from Ferran Adria’s kitchen but a local chef repeated the exercise for me a short while ago.

Something similar happens here with the wine, the roasted Brussels sprouts smell that lands on the olfactory sensors, influences how you process the taste of the wine. Suddenly the classic Burgundy style has a new and interesting context.

Musical Match: Speaking of perception benders, Thelonious Monk never stopped bending perceptions, even of his most ardent fans. Here he takes a very classic children’s tune, This Old Man and turns it into That Old Man. His genius breathes life and style into a tried and tested musical piece – he respects its simplicity, and yet he imprints his intricate musical signature on the piece. Brilliant.

Leave a comment and me know what wine you would match with this music.

Part 2/5 in the BottleDJ Fall Classic Focus on New Zealand.

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