Really, I would have liked to jot down a different tasting note for this Belgian sparkling wine which has been hailed in the press and by many a Belgian wine and food critic. I was hoping Meerdael would pleasantly surprise me like that other, great Chardonnay from Belgium did.

Ideally my entry would have read “An enticing complex, toasty, cabbagey nose with savoury, yeasty complexity followed by a concentrated palate which is savoury and dense with nice grippy, toasty flavours.”

Instead I was left nose-dipping to the very bottom of my flute, sniffing like an unlucky truffle dog desperate to find a trace of the good stuff.

Tasting Note (25.12.2012 G.M.)

Meerdael, NV, 12% Vol.

variety: Chardonnay

style: fully sparkling white wine BRUT

region: AOC Vlaamse mousserende kwaliteitswijn, Heuvelland, Belgium

producer: Meerdael

Georges’ Score: D

The nose is delicate but undistintive. The sparkling wine froths and foams brutely in the mouth – less would be more. The wine’s personality is lean, chiseled back to flint and a sour finish with almost nothing in between. Not a hint of something wild, yeasty, perpetually burgeoning that one expects from decent bubbly.

Meerdael is made in the ‘traditional method’ which used to be known as the méthode champenoise until Champagne producers convinced the European Union to restrict that term to wines from their region. Be that as it may, it lacks aroma and flavour and all of the breadyness so typical for Champagne or sparklers that should have benefitted from autolysis (contact between the wines and self-digesting yeast lees).

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