New Release Chardonnay: December 2022

New Release Chardonnay: December 2022

Barry Weinman: 12th December 2022

Perspective is so important when comparing wines, and the inclusion of the superb Vasse Felix Heytesbury and Voyager MJW chardonnays in this masked line up of wines served as an excellent reference point for the rest of the wines.

And a few of the 15 wines tasted were able to hold their heads up high in what was a very high quality line-up.

The stars for me where the Juniper Estate’s Cornerstone Chardonnay and Domaine Naturaliste’s Artus Chardonnay.

A real surprise was the Wombat Creek Chardonnay from Handpicked wines. This is the exception to the rule and shows that lower alcohol chardonnay can produce a complex wine, which is really enjoyable on release. Super stuff.

And from a value perspective, Ferngrove’s Diamond Chardonnay is a fine example of a cooler climate wine.


Domaine Naturaliste – Artus – Chardonnay – 2021. There is so much going on here. Curry leaf minerality, struck match notes, lees work, barrel ferment, oak and malolactic fermentation all play a role. This is a high impact, intense, powerful style, which has been done very well. The fruit sits a little behind all of the funky notes initially, but the pineapple and stone fruit characters build in the glass. A complex, serious and worked wine. 100% Gingin clone, wild yeast, full malolactic fermentation, 10 months in oak (40% new) 13% alc. 95pts – $56.

Juniper Estate – Cornerstone – Chardonnay – 2020. This is fine and elegant, with gentle cashew notes supporting the supple fruit. Hints of peach and nectarine are supported by subtle winemaking inputs. Whilst lithe and elegant, there is underlying depth and richness , which makes this quite special. Youthful and taut, this will also cellar well for up to a decade. From a mature vineyard in Karridale, French oak barriques (45% new), 13.5% alc. Try with grilled asparagus and marinated feta. 95pts – $70.

Hand Picked – Wombat Creek Vineyard – Chardonnay – 2020. Supple, rounded and balanced, this is a captivating wine that combines ripe stone fruit aromas and flavours with gentle winemaking inputs. Grapefruit acidity drives the finish, with light toast oak adding depth. The length is a highlight. Great drinking now, but will be better with age. 11.9% alc. 94 – 95pts – TBC.

Grosset – Piccadilly – Chardonnay – 2021. Pristine fruit that is so fine and delicate. Subtle stone fruit (white peach) notes build and are supported by gentle nutty notes. The palate is silky, near seamless, gently textured and very long. A lovely wine that is refined, elegant and superb drinking. Now – 7 years. Barrel ferment (40%new), partial malo, 13.5% alc. 95pts – $70

Ferngrove – Diamond – Chardonnay – 2021. This is intense, in a cooler climate way where the characters tend more to grapefruit, rather than stone fruit. The length and persistence are quite remarkable. Whilst the acidity is a feature, it is the pretty floral and peach notes that build in the glass , which are the highlight. Gentle grip adds texture on the close. 12.5% Alc. 93pts -$32

Plantagenet – Three Lions – Chardonnay – 2021. This is pretty and floral, with gentle citrus and white peach notes. The palate is really fine and elegant, with just a whisper of oak in the background adding texture and weight, without any overt flavours. Understated, this is excellent value current drinking. 91pts – $26.

Evans & Tate – Wild Cape – Chardonnay – 2021. Creamy and supple, with a core of lemony acid that runs the length of the palate. This is quite linear but should flesh out nicely with a couple of years in the bottle. Commendable length and persistence at this price point. 90pts – $25.