Reviewed: 20 December 2012
Overall, this was a smart line-up that threw up some real surprises. The highlight was the Hardy’s Oomoo. Who would have thought that a cheaper chardonnay could develop so well. It makes me think that a case of the Angove tucked away for a few years would be worth a punt, given how well it showed.
From a current drinking point of view, two wines stood out: The Willow Bridge and the Yerring Station. They are both delicious, though ultimately, the Yerring Station is the better wine, (and twice the price).
Millbrook – Chardonnay – Limited Release – 2011 (17.7 – 18.2). Aromas of stone-fruit and mealy, nutty characters over grapefruit and a touch of ginger spice. The palate has plenty of juicy peach fruit, with quality new oak evident. The barrel ferment and lees work adds lovely richness and texture to the palate. The length is excellent and the finish spot on. A bigger style that combines excellent fruit and quality oak, but the balance is a highlight. Will develop well.
Yering Station – Chardonnay – 2010 (17.5 – 18). A fresh, vibrant style that has creamy stone fruit characters and fresh citrus acid on the finish. There is lovely texture and mouth-feel and the balance is spot-on. Whilst this is a great drink now, it has the potential to offer even more with a couple of years in the bottle. My pick of the tasting for current drinking, but this developed remarkably over a few days on the tasting bench, so is sure to age well for a few years.
Angove – Chardonnay – Long Row – 2012 (17.5). Wow, what a surprise this wine was! Lovely creamy fruit aromas here that are quite complex and alluring. The palate is supple, round and generous, with peach, grapefruit and minerals combining with good quality oak. The oak is very well integrated and really adds to the finish. This is a wine that I would like to drink in a few years as the fruit should really build and if anything, become more complex. At $10, this is worth a punt.
Devil’s Lair – Chardonnay – Hidden Cave – 2012 (17 – 17.5). This is the second time that I have reviewed this recently, and an extra month in the bottle has already seen this open up. The wine has a modern nose that shows grapefruit over stone-fruit aromas. The palate opens with clean, fresh fruit with a lovely citrus tang. There is life and vitality, with a hint of lees and oak to add interest. Not overly complex at present, this will make an excellent afternoon drink. Given time though, it will develop complexity and a degree of richness.
Hardys – Chardonnay – Oomoo – 2008 (17.5). This wine floored the panel when it was unveiled. I like the nose here for its minerals and subtle stone-fruit. There is even a hint of curry leaf that I associate with high quality burgundy. The palate has peach and nectarine flavours with quality, medium-toast oak on the finish. A supple, well integrated wine with grapefruit to close. (Not current release).
Swings & Roundabouts – Chardonnay – Backyard Stories – 2011 (17.5). A bigger style with buttery lees and oak. Interestingly there is quite sharp acid on the finish initially that cuts through the richness. Long and juicy, the fruit is actually very good and this really builds in the glass. This just gets better and better, with the fruit really tying to the high quality oak making for a complex wine.
Shingleback – Chardonnay – Kiss Me Kate – 2012 (17.5). A firm wine that has quality fruit and oak, yet is very reserved and shy. This is very much in the mould of the modern style that Australian winemakers are embracing. The palate is lean and angular, but it will develop with time. Opens up in the glass to show lime, peach and a touch of oak spice. The oak lingers on the finish, but this should integrate back in to the fruit with a little more time in the bottle. A remarkably refined chardonnay from McLaren Vale.
Willow Bridge – Chardonnay – Dragonfly – 2012 (17). Seductive nose that has clean, fresh, ripe fruit and subtle oak and lees aromas. The palate is forward, showing rich fruit characters and fresh acid. The oak is nicely textured and adds depth. A very good wine for current drinking and should be excellent value.
De Bortoli – Chardonnay – La Bossa – 2011 (16.3). Relatively simple fruit that has been expertly made. The length of the palate is a standout feature. Soft and supple, the restrained nature of this wine will work beautifully with food.