Cherubino Chardonnays: 2022 Vintage Reviewed
Barry Weinman: 14th August 2023
I am honestly amazed at the quality that Larry Cherubino maintains across his range, given the vast number of wines he makes under his own labels, not to mention the consultant winemaking that he offers.
A great example of both the quality and the array of wines on offer is the chardonnays made in 2022. There are no less than six chardonnays under the various Cherubino labels, in addition to those in the other ranges such as Pedestal and Ad Hoc.
With the exception of the On The Fringe Chardonnay which eschews new oak in favour of maturation in large format foudre and concrete egg, there are similarities in winemaking techniques across the range. So the differences that are seen between the wines in many ways reflects the variations in the various vineyards/sub-sites.
Cherubino – Margaret River – Chardonnay – 2022. Finer and more elegant than most, but no less impactful. Gorgeous fruit is front and centre. The oak, tannins and acid add depth and texture, but they are, for all intent and purposes, invisible. The viscous, textured mouthfeel is noteworthy. A brilliant wine now, but should open up further over the next five years. 60% new oak, partial (10%) malolactic fermentation, 13.1% alc. The pinnacle of the range, utilising the best parcels of fruit from across Margaret River. 96pts.
Cherubino – Pemberton – Chardonnay – 2022. A beautiful wine, that has intense peach aromas with layers of tropical fruit coming in over the top. This is dense and powerful, yet retains balance and charm. There is great length and persistence on a palate that is near seamless. A delightful wine that can be consumed with joy any time over the next five to seven years. Dijon clone, 13.1% alc, 96pts.
Cherubino – Gingin – Chardonnay – 2022. From the Willows Vineyard in Wilyabrup, this feels a little more immature in the mouth, with the acid and oak more noticeable and the mouthfeel a bit leaner. There is still excellent fruit quality but it comes across as quite restrained initially. Yet this retains a degree of approachability that makes for an excellent drink, particularly with food. Think poached chicken breast or spinach and ricotta ravioli. But with air, this really opens up, showing intense, powerful fruit supported by gentle astringency. Impressive 13.7% alc – 95pts.
Cherubino – On The Fringe – Chardonnay – 2022. There is a purity of fruit here that is quite special, no doubt aided by the use of large format foudre in combination with concrete eggs for maturation. The palate is elegant, lithe and supple, yet also intense, textured and deep at the same time. So, so good, but give it a few years to hit its straps. Fruit comes from a mature vineyard in Pemberton. 12.6% alc – 96pts.
Cherubino – Dijon – Chardonnay 2022. From the Wychwood Vineyard in Karridale, this is a very different expression of Margaret River chardonnay, but it is in no way less worthwhile. The fruit is just a little more subdued and closed right now, with the citrus acidity and flinty minerality more notable than the fruit right now. Everything is in place and this offers excellent drinkability, but its true potential will only be revealed at some point in the future. 12.9% alc – 95pts.
Cherubino – Caves Road – Chardonnay – 2022. Another excellent wine, but here everything is accessible from the outset and there is excellent balance. Whilst there is less (30%) new oak in this compared to some of the others in the range, it does add impact. I would drink this whilst waiting for the others to really hit their straps. Dijon Clones 95 and 96, 12.9% alc – 94pts.