Chardonnay – New Release

Reviewed: 8th November 2013

This was a fascinating tasting that highlighted the quality and diversity of chardonnays being made in Australia.  From the taut austerity of the Devils Lair, the balance of the Frankland Estate, to the richness and depth of the Singlefile, they are all quality wines.

Interestingly, there were a couple of wines from 2013 in the tasting.  These have not been reviewed, as they were just too young to properly assess them at this point.


Devils Lair – Chardonnay – 2012 (18).  A very fine wine made in a lighter style.  The fruit has been picked early to retain freshness and vitality, though this comes at the cost of immediate drinkability.  There is no denying the quality of the  fruit, and this has been very well handled.  The key feature here is the excellent length and persistence.  This wine took four days to really open up and shine, so cellaring is recommended.

Singlefile – Chardonnay – Reserve – 2012 (18).  Wow, superb nose that has powerful fruit combined with complex winemaker’s inputs that adds a struck match character to the minerals and quality oak.  The palate is rich, dense and very long.  The oak sits well with the fruit, though a year or two should see this settle back a little and allow the fruit to really shine.  The finish is very long and complex, with curry leaf and spice to close.  Expensively made.

Frankland Estate – Chardonnay – Isolation Ridge – 2012 (17.9).  This wine takes the middle ground between the Devils Lair and Singlefile.  The fruit is attractive and well matched to the subtle winemaking notes.  Aroma wise, there is lemon, stonefruit, melon and a hint of tropical fruit.  The palate is supple, creamy and quite savoury.  The finish is very balanced and near seamless, though the acid cuts a swath through the creamy texture.  A smart wine that will be even better in 2 – 3 years.

Xanadu – Chardonnay – DJL – 2012 (17.4).  Fresh, vibrant and very smart.  A modern style that has a portion of earlier picked fruit to retain freshness.  Good quality fruit is matched by lovely, citrus-like acidity, with the oak adding texture to the palate.  Well made.

Willow Bridge – Chardonnay – G1-10 – 2012 (17.5).  Lovely wine this, in a subtly worked style.  There is excellent fruit and winemaking and quite a seamless finish.  The oak sits nicely with the fruit and adds texturally.  Good mouth-feel and length to close.