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Chardonnay still first for women

It might be in danger of surrendering its crown to Semillon, but women still prefer Chardonnay, according to new research commissioned by Australian wine company BRL Hardy.

A survey by researchers NOP found a third of women drinkers would choose Chardonnay over other varieties. ‘Our research shows that women would like to know more about wine so they can be more confident in their choices’, said Hardys’ brand manager Amelia Nolan.

The findings come in the midst of a period of bad press for Chardonnay. Earlier this year former British prime minister John Major announced he was ‘an ABC man – that’s Anything But Chardonnay’. Then any claims to sophistication the grape might have had went into tailspin when a fictitious footballer’s wife in the hit UK TV series was named Chardonnay.

All this bad publicity led pundits to predict that Chardonnay’s days as the first choice of white wine drinkers were numbered. Semillon was predicted to be ‘the new Chardonnay.’

Last night wine expert Jilly Goolden and comedian Jo Brand (pictured, right, with Goolden) compered a woman-only tasting in London, organised by Hardys in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. Five hundred women tasted their way through the Stamp of Australia range, guided by Goolden. ‘This event is all about demystifying wine’ said Nolan.

While the non-professional audience sometimes found it difficult to distinguish the notes of gardenias and gooseberries that Goolden suggested, they were possibly better able to relate to her thought that oak in wine is like a bra. ‘It picks up the fruit and points it in the right direction’.

Written by Beverley Blanning26 July 2002

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