Chardonnay – New Release

Reviewed: 10 February 2013

This tasting again highlighted the evolution of Australian Chardonnay. Earlier picked and lower in alcohol, these wines can be quite thrilling. The Howard Park and Squitchy Lane are excellent examples.

The Killerby sits in the middle, having more richness to the fruit, yet retaining elegance and subtlety. Delicious stuff.


Howard Park – Chardonnay – 2011 (18). Starts in the leaner style with more minerality than a lot of Australian chardonnays. There is peachy fruit with pineapple hints on the palate, (most likely from the inclusion of Mendoza clone fruit). The palate opens to become quite viscous and mouth-coating, the finish balanced by lovely acidity. There is high quality, yet restrained oak and the length is admirable. Will age gracefully over the next five years, but this is a super drink right now! (13% alc).

Squitchy Lane – Chardonnay – Yarra Valley – 2010 (17.8). The restrained nose speaks of quality winemaking in a modern, lean style. There is a lovely palate that is creamy and textured, yet fine and elegant. This has high quality fruit that expresses as white peach and nectarine. There is a degree of richness to the fruit on the palate that is very compelling. The finish is near seamless with the acid and oak adding depth rather than overt flavour. The complex, worked characters round out the finish. Will be even better with another year or two in bottle. (13% alc).

Marchand & Burch – Chardonnay – Porongurup – 2011 (17.7). Closed and tight, this only hints at potential. The palate is superb, with hints of pineapple (? from mendoza clone vines) as well as stonefruit. This is lean and elegant, with grapefruit acidity to close. The length is admirable, but it is a modern style that needs 3 – 5 years to show its best.

Killerby – Chardonnay – 2011 (17.5+). A more opulent style that is still quite elegant, though the finish is a touch firm right now. Opens to show quality fruit and winemaking. The palate has excellent balance and you can sense that with time, the fruit will uncoil to show its power. Excellent winemaking. Compared to the Howard Park, this is quite a rich wine, but it is still well balanced.

West Cape Howe – Chardonnay – 2012 (16.5). Whilst it does not say so on the front label, this is an unwooded example. The nose is dominated by fresh and vibrant tropical fruit notes. The palate is fresh and lively, with the tropical fruit lingering. Easy summer drinking and a good alternative to a NZ sauvignon blanc.