April 2017 – New Release Chardonnay
Barry Weinman: 8th April 2017
When it comes to making a first impression, the new wines from wine industry stalwart Robert Bowen really stand out. The expensive packaging is very striking (powerful/heavy bottle and strong label), and the Block H Chardonnay is a cracking wine.
The Juniper Estate was the unanimous pick of the panel: a lovely wine. The Singlefile was only a whisker behind and continues the run of brilliant wines under this label.
Juniper Estate – Chardonnay – Estate – 2015 (18.5pts – $40). Very pale colour. Refined and elegant, with supple fruit complemented by quality oak. The oak is tight and fine and will settle back into the fruit with a couple of years in bottle. The length and persistence is a feature. Really builds depth in the glass. A lovely, youthful, shy wine that was the wine of the tasting.
Singlefile – Chardonnay – Family Reserve – 2015 (18 – 18.5+pts – $50). Middle of the road style, where the lemony fruit is accessible, though somewhat restrained. Fine oak is apparent, but not overpowering, complimented by refreshing acidity. Almost chewy, this is a textured and viscous. A powerful, textural wine that needs a few years to really shine. Whole bunch pressed, 8.5 months in French oak (40% new).
Robert Bowen – Chardonnay – Block H – 2016 (18pts). The nose is somewhat closed initially, but opens to show both stone fruit and pineapple/tropical characters. The palate is rich and ripe, and you can almost taste the sunshine in the fruit. Despite the ripeness, the balance here is excellent, with the acid providing a counterpoint. Very long, the oak has been soaked up by the fruit, adding texture. Fantastic fruit quality in a richer style – worth trying.
Howard Park – Chardonnay – Flint Rock – 2016 (17.9pts – $28). Pristine, high quality fruit that is refined and elegant (pineapple, melon and grapefruit). The palate is creamy and textured, the oak and barrel-work adding a layer of complexity, rather than overt flavours. Just lacks the ultimate depth of its big brother, but represents great value drinking.
Hollick – Chardonnay – Bond Road – 2014 (17pts – $25). Complex nose that has spice and mineral characters, as well as a touch of curry leaf. The palate is ripe and fleshy, with the toasted oak providing a nice counterpoint. Easy drinking style that will please many.