New Release Chardonnay
12th November 2017
The new Cape Mentelle Chardonnay was a revelation. It seems that the style has evolved slightly under the stewardship of Frederique Perrin, showing a bit more generosity and allowing the fruit quality to be showcased.
And then there was the Howard Park Allingham Chardonnay – brilliant!
Finally, the pair of wines from After Hours provided an interesting comparison. The 2015 being all rich and buttery, whilst the 2016 was restrained and lithe by comparison.
Howard Park – Chardonnay – Allingham – 2016 (18.7/20 – $89). Textbook example of modern Chardonnay. Whilst restrained, the high quality fruit is a delight, with the supple oak and lees components adding depth, but not overt flavours. Great length of flavours, with grapefruit acidity that cuts through the stonefruit notes. Will develop brilliantly over 5 – 10 years and one of the best Chardonnays I have tried in 2017.
Cape Mentelle – Chardonnay – 2016 (18.7/20 – $45). Complex, powerful and intense, the Gin Gin clone fruit expressing as pineapple and peach, evolving to nectarine. Very intense palate, yet the balance is superb. Great length, this wine is great now, but would also take 5 years in the cellar. Brilliant! Whilst still fairly tight, this is a richer style than I recall of other recent vintages, spending 11 months in oak (1/3 new) undergoing wild fermentation and partial malolactic fermentation.
After Hours – Chardonnay – 2015 (18/20). Wow, the flavours really hit you here. Powerful fruit, with struck match, minerality, nectarine, white peach and grapefruit. There is quality oak, and the palate is very long and textured. Will suit those who like a big, rich Chardonnay.
After Hours – Chardonnay – 2016 (18/20). Lithe in comparison. Ripe, yet restrained fruit has been skilfully matched to the oak, with careful lees management adding depth. An elegant, refined wine.
Talisman – Chardonnay – Gabrielle – 2015 (18/20 – $35). Complex nose that has minerality, stonefruit, and lees/oak notes. The palate is complex and fine, with lemony acid. The fruit is restrained at present, needing a few years to fully express itself, so short to mid-term cellaring will be rewarded.