This is a tour de force of Australian Chardonnay from a trio of underground producers that are crafting some of our countries best, freshest, nerviest and nuanced Chardonnay. Australian Chardonnay is in such a great spot, with high quality cool climate regions, impressive understanding of vineyards and progressive, intuitive, thoughtful and skilful winemaking. We have quoted the renowned Jancis Robinson MW more than once, when she said “I’m finding more life, interest and certainly value in the best of the new generation of Australian Chardonnays than I am in the great bulk of white burgundies”
With all of this quality available, we could have gone a few directions, though we decided to offer three lesser known, small, but noteworthy producers from Tasmania, Beechworth and Margaret River. If you are a Chardonnay drinker, these should be tried. We are selling the pack for $240, though the price of each bottle varies, so if you want to get a straight 6 of any, shoot us an email and we will order accordingly.
Holyman Chardonnay 2019, Tamar, Tasmania - $49.00
Produced in tiny quantities from a three-quarter acre block of 33-year-old vines on the Tamar River in Northern Tasmania, Joe Holyman produces one of the tightest, flintiest, powerful, expressive and balanced Chardonnay’s in the country. It is just released and always sells out fast. Joe’s wines are a favourite of ours at Press and this will go straight in our cellars as well.
The wine making here is simple, dry grown (unirrigated) fruit is hand-picked and whole bunch pressed straight to 500L French oak barrels, where it starts and finishes its ferment naturally and spends 9 months. It has a juicy grapefruit flavour which we love in Chardonnay, there are some white florals, peach and lime as well. It is very classy. There is a nutty almond flavour and signature core of Tasmanian acid which drives a fresh line through the wine and gives incredible texture, flow and depth. It will age ten years but is delicious now. Think of drinking with any form of shellfish, from oysters to scallops to bugs and crays. Has already earned 96 points from the team at Wine Front.
Domenica Chardonnay 2017, Beechworth, Victoria - $42.00
Chardonnay royalty runs through owner/ winemaker Peter Graham’s veins, after 13 years as assistant winemaker at his uncle’s winery Giaconda. Giaconda is arguably Australia’s best Chardonnay and its signature is a rich, broad, textured, creamy style that has balanced fruit, poise and elegance. The Domenica Chardonnay shows all of this, and whilst from the cool hills of Beechworth, is the most classic and rich of these three wines. It has also benefitted from a couple of years in the cellar and is in a great drinking window now.
The wine making is similar to the Holyman, beginning with well farmed, pure, unaltered, balanced fruit that is hand-picked, whole bunch (basket) pressed straight in to French oak. The basket pressing technique and some malolactic fermentation delivers the broad, rich and creamy texture of the wine.
Time in oak is slightly longer here, touching 18 months. Peter lets nature run its course and the ferments take as long as they need. This is confident and experienced winemaking. The touch of oak, texture and classy fruit are effortlessly balanced. Drink now and over five years and serve with richer foods, like fish in butter sauce, fish pie or roast chicken.
Nocturne SR Chardonnay 2019, Margaret River, Western Australia - $32.00
The future of Margaret River is in a good place, with the ambitious Julian and Alana Langworthy a driving force. Julian and his wife Alana are a dynamic duo in the region and run this small side label, Nocturne, alongside their more permanent full-time gigs. Julian is the chief winemaker of Deep Woods (and other labels in the Fogarty Wine Group) that has recently taken the countries wine shows by storm for their impressive Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Alana owns and runs Yallingup Cheese, though as well as a cheese maker is a talented winemaker in her own right. The Nocturne label began in 2015 and drew immediate attention, the wines consistently run out.
SR means sub-regional and takes us to a couple of vineyards in the Treeton sub-region, which has warm Margaret River days, complemented with cool and chilly nights. This delivers a fruit forward but fresh chardonnay that packs intensity but straddles the line of funk and freshness. The wine is, once again, fermented naturally in puncheon barrel (330L) though none of these are new, they are all one to two-year-old vessels.
Funk driven flavours of struck match, burnt lime, ripe citrus, juicy orchard fruits and grilled nuts drive this wine. It is rich, powerful and impressive. We would drink this over the next couple of years and it will handle bolder flavours. Spice rubbed prawns, chicken or pork, some paella or grilled seafoods. 94 points from Wine Front.
We are getting into Chardonnay weather, so next week we will offer some French examples in another mixed set. To tip our hat to our other favourite home grown producers that we can source for you, keep in mind the wines from Mac Forbes, Ocean Eight, Tolpuddle Vineyard, Gentle Folk, Shaw + Smith, Hoddles Creek, Seville Estate, Bindi, By Farr, Irrewarra, A Rodda, Voyager Estate, Vasse Felix and Cullen.
We hope you enjoy this set.
Tom and Dan