Chardonnay is an outstanding wine. It is huge, with perfumed fruit aromas reminiscent of apples and tropical fruit and nuances of nutty oak. The 1988 Chardonnay fills the palate with excellent rich, ripe peachy fruit, obvious lees character and huge buttery oak flavours. It has fresh, crisp acidity, a lovely mouth feel, a tight structure and considerable length.
This wine is so tantalisingly approachable that far too much of it will be consumed long before it reaches its peak. We see it as a wine in two stages; the first, when it is young with its delicious, mouth-filling fruit given a lift by its oak characters; the second, after three years when it has had the benefit of bottle age to allow it to meld together and develop complexity and elegance.
vintage followed the dry winter of 1987, a cool and wet period during spring and summer and a warm February which brought the vines on quickly. Picking began for the Chardonnay on the 14th of February. The warm weather meant that the normal two week gap between picking Chardonnay and Semillon was reduced to one week. The cool, wet growing season had boosted the soil moisture so that the hot ripening weather in February did not cause any stress to the vines.
The vintage produced good quality grapes with crisp fruit characters and the liveliest white wines at Moss Wood since 1984.
The Chardonnay went through its primary and malolactic fermentation in oak and was bottled just before Christmas after nine months on its yeast lees. Keith regards the crisp 1988 wine as having greater freshness, being in better balance and hence more complete than any he has made since 1984.