Chardonnay runs the gamut of expressions from tight, linear and unadulterated by oak to the big, rich, buttery numbers we see from warmer sites. As we’re in the Huon it’s unlikely we’ll be making the latter anytime soon. We planted four Dijon clones (95, 96, 76 & 277) in two sections of the vineyard over 2 hectares in 2010 where we’d pulled out some Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc – don’t ask...
The idea was to bring some of the best, earlier-ripening, lower-yielding clones to the Huon that would enable us to achieve the flavour, texture and acid components from a cool area that we see in the Chardonnays that we love. Our sandy-loam soils over sandstone and clay, combined with dry-farming and a marginal climate should provide some fascinating wines over the years.
So what’s not a weird year these days? The more you look through the records and analyse your own experiences you realise that the even-ripening, slow build and descent, gentle ebb and flow years are the unusual ones. 2017 was not one of those years. Maybe its symptomatic of the ‘new normal’ or perhaps it’s just the way it’s always been. So, briefly, spring was wet, cold and windy. Lots of canopy, rubbish flowering and the nagging feeling that we’d be picking sometime after May. Cue January and it was like the water tank ran dry. 378mm from September to December, then 116mm from Jan to April and most of that came in 3 rain days. We went from worrying about disease to worrying whether we would have to compromise and put some irrigation on. In the end we held off and picked in the oh-so-normal middle of April. The fruit was great; lots of natural acid, low sugars, a ‘cooler year’ fruit profile and structure. Yields were typically low from the poor flowering and dry end to the season. In the winery we felt like we needed to reduce the acid slightly through about 25% of the barrels going through malolactic fermentation but it still retained that sea-spray character and citrus fruit/floral expression we are seeing consistently in our Chardonnay.
Our 2017 Chardonnay is $55 per bottle and only available in 6-pack cases at $330 per case.
Freight is $15 anywhere in Australia.