Restraint, elegance, refinement. This Art Series beauty has definitely been supported by one of the best finishing schools in Australia – that is Leeuwin Estate. They have let the natural Chardonnay assets come through, without appearing overworked by a cheap Bali plastic surgeon.
Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay
The Chardonnay fruit is fine focused and intense, quite lean and lithe at this point in time. More citrus – lemon zest and pink grapefruit, with subtle roast nuts and warm spicy oak adding more weight and savoury hints. Generally I only have Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay with a few years of age, so it’s interesting to see its purity as a new release.
At first I thought they had changed the winemaking, but talking to Simone Furlong (Leeuwin’s joint Chief Executive) she advised that no major changes have been made to the Chardonnay. It is amazing how it develops and changes with time. One to be enjoyed over the next 10-15 years. Or while listening to the Leeuwin Estate Concert.
Source: Savour Oz tasting
The Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River has managed to find that delicate balance. Between being driven, and not dominated, by fruit and
Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon
supported by enough savouriness to make it interesting. A seductive aroma of all the usual suspects – cassis, cedar, dark chocolate and spice. The palate is full of ripe plum and fleshy dark fruit. Well supported by fine tannins and noticeable but not overpowering acid. The Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon is at once generous but still holding a little back and sensational value at this price. Buy it by the case!
The Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon also won the trophy at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show.
Region: Margaret River, Australia
So this probably wasn’t a purely wine focused sensory evaluation, as the Heytesbury Chardonnay was accompanied with food.
Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay
However, the complex aroma showed aspects of a wild ferment funk, with a core of lemon curd/custard. Subtle flintiness too.
The palate showed sweet pineapple which was well balanced with the acid. Good oak handling (9 months 71% new French oak) in no way dominated the wine, but added some softness. No malolatic fermentation was encouraged, which maintained the wine as fresh and bright. Great length of flavour.
Region: Margaret River, Australia
Source: Vasse Felix Restaurant
Tasmania is a hot place at present. For such a cool climate wine region there really are some sensational things coming out of the state. But alas I haven’t been myself, so it is high on my foodie to-do list. After this wine and a few others from Moorilla at the Adelaide Wine Show it’s even higher on that list. In general I was very impressed with Tasmanian Chardonnays, Pinot Noir and Rieslings.
Tasmania’s cool climate and Moorilla’s close proximity to the ocean sees the vines kept cold at all times. This helps with reduced risk of frost and fungal diseases. But also the climate facilitates a long ripening process and promotes complexity of flavours. Just 15km north of Hobart on the Derwent River, it will definitely be on my “must visit” list.
The 2010 Moorilla Muse Chardonnay has great intensity and complexity on the nose. Lovely warm roasted cashew nuts, beeswax/lanolin, and preserved citrus. On the palate it was lively, and full of flavour with a pleasant citrus pith grip. While being fuller in flavour, it wasn’t full of malo-creaminess. Soft ripe citrus and white stone fruit flavours, combined with a subtle savour edge. For me this rates pretty high on the drinkability scale.
I’d probably match the Moorilla Chardonnay with a cured Tasmanian salmon – you have to really.
Michael Hall 2010 Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay
Mt Lofty summit overlooking Adelaide
Chardonnay fruit from one of the higher vineyards in Adelaide Hills, just down the road from the Mt Lofty summit (710m). Classed as a cool climate wine region, but the cool night time temperatures really give the vines a rest from the warmer daytimes.
The nose of the Michael Hall Chardonnay has the oak quite upfront, but receding into the background eventually. Spicy biscuit (gingernut/shortbread) with firm stonefruit and roasted nuts. Hints of wild ferment funk deep in the basement. Quite intense and complex. On the palate, it has a nice citrus pith grip, with hints of ripe tropical fruit (pineapple). Great length, with a good weight holding everything in balance. Clean finish.
Really typical of Adelaide Hills’ Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay – load of citrus and stonefruit. For me the oak was a little too noticeable, but I kept returning to the wine and finding more each visit.
Michael Hall Chardonnay
Cases Produced: 250
Sample: Provided by producer
Note: The 2011 has now been released. (Ive been somewhat tardy with this post.)
Barossa Valley Shiraz fruit, with a good dollop of Mataro 10% blended in. Jam packed with ripe dark fruits like plum and blackberries, and a hint of bitter chocolate. The nose reminds me of panforte – fruit, chocolate and lots of spices.