New Release Chardonnay – June 2019
Barry Weinman: 24th June 2019
I love Chardonnay. If I had to choose just one white wine style to drink, this would be it. Part of the appeal is the versatility that the grape affords. From zesty, racy unoaked styles made famous by Chablis, to the powerful rich and textured White Burgundies, there is a style for every occasion.
For this tasting, the panel sat down to a line-up of over 20 high quality wines, primarily from 2017 and 2018. The final five wines that made it through to this review are all worthy of your attention. From the great value Flint Rock, to the powerful Singlefile, the different faces of Chardonnay are well represented.
I hope you get the chance to enjoy some of these wines.
Singlefile – Chardonnay – Family Reserve – 2018 (18.7/20pts – $60). This is a great wine. Complex and creamy, with powerful fruit and very refined winemaking inputs. Peach-like fruit with citrus highlights really build in the glass. The suppleness to the palate is a highlight, with the creamy texture adding depth. Excellent fruit, oak and winemaking combine to make this a brilliant drink now, but also one that will age well for at least five years. (From a 30 y/o vineyard, the fruit was hand-picked, barrel fermented in French oak (40% new), lees stirring and only 12% malolactic fermentation).
Howard Park – Chardonnay – Flint Rock – 2018 (17.9/20pts – $28). Whilst I was tempted to review the premium Howard Park Chardonnay, the value offered by the Flint Rock made this a stand-out. This wine is a bit deceptive, as it starts off very easy to drink and satisfying, but then starts to build greater depth and texture, with the ripe fruit perfectly matched to the oak and lees work. A fine wine with a creamy finish, the generosity of fruit makes this great drinking now. (Aged in older oak and spends 10 months on lees).
Dexter – Chardonnay – 2017 (18/20pts – $40). This is a leaner, more modern style, with fine, if obvious acidity and subtle fruit in the grapefruit and nectarine spectrum. The acidity, which is a touch youthful now gradually gives way to fine, supple fruit and a very long finish. Very good indeed, this will evolve for a number of years. (Whole bunch pressed, barrel fermentation, extended lees aging, partial malolactic fermentation).
Sandalford – Chardonnay – Estate Reserve – 2018 (18/20pts). Fine and elegant, with everything in balance. There is a touch of toast from the oak, but this fits well with the fruit profile. With air, this builds peach and pineapple fruit notes. This finish is long, supple and textured, with a savoury lift on the close.
Plantagenet – Chardonnay – York – 2018 (18.4/20pts – $40). A great way to finish the tasting. This is fine, refined, elegant and long, with supple stone fruit and citrus notes combined with impeccable (French) oak handling. The latter adds texture and depth, without dulling the fruit expression. A stately wine that is great now, but would benefit from five years in the cellar.