As always in our wines we try to get a defined acid focus to the wines but balance this with texture. Medium weight, hints of beautiful french oak lie nicely behind the primary flavours of apple, pear and white stone fruit. For such a young wine, the balance right across the palate and the length of the palate are impressive.
Spring got off to a good start after a typically wet, cold winter, and things were looking good. Margaret River experienced one of its wettest Novembers on record which, looking back, was the beginning of the late season issues for many vignerons. We had a very dry (pretty much 0mm of rain) for December and January, but then came a couple of very wet days at the beginning of February where 60-100mm of rain fell across the district.
This big rain event caused some severe and widespread disease outbreaks in many vineyards in Margaret River. Thankfully, working with great sites which have been well managed for many years, these more challenging conditions did not spell disaster for our grapes, unlike many down here. We literally saw less than 10 diseased bunches in our 3 chardonnay picks!
Overall I would count this vintage as a stressful one and one that threw up many more things to consider when making our harvest decisions. The early signs are that the Chardonnay is looking like the star of vintage so far.
Three diverse and select parcels of Gin Gin clone Chardonnay combined to produce this wine. Gin Gin clone vines were used exclusively as I believe that this clone more so than any other expresses the exceptional and unique Margaret River and sub-regional terroir.
The first 2 plots of vines lie in the famed Wilyabrup sub-region. More examples of Margaret River’s most famous Chardonnays and Cabernets originate from fruit in this subregion than anywhere else in the district. Whilst only being around 150m apart, the two blocks behave drastically different and produce very different qualities in their fruit.
The second plot of vines is in the far south sub-region of Karridale - the most southerly of Margaret River’s subregions. The vineyard is in close proximity to both the Indian and Southern Oceans leading to typically far lower growing season temperatures.
All of the grapes for this wine were handpicked into small 8kg crates and immediately transported back to the winery where the whole bunches of grapes were placed gently into a traditional basket pressed to extract the juice. Whole-bunch basket pressing yields around 20+% less juice than a conventional airbag press, but the juice quality is second to none.
The juice was run into a mix of brand new and seasoned oak. 1 brand new French oak barrel was used, giving the wine a new oak percentage of 13%. The remainder of the barrels were a mix of 2 and 3 year old oak. The wine was fermented dry utilising the indigenous yeast which came in on the grape bunches from the vineyard.
Following alcoholic fermentation the wine was encouraged to undergo malolactic fermentation, a process whereby the malic acid naturally present in the grapes is converted into the softer and more textural lactic acid. As with the alcoholic fermentation, this occurred through bacteria which were naturally present in the juice and winery environment. Following 100% completion of Malo the wine was sulphured and the wine racked off its heavy yeast lees. The wine has rested and developed in oak for 9 months during which time it underwent the process of bâtonnage (stirring of the yeast lees in the bottom of the barrel) for 4 months to encourage development of more complex, savoury aromas and flavours.
This wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered, with our aim being to showcase the amazing fruit which went into making it in the purest way possible.
This wine is drinking well upon release but will really hit it straps in another year or two in bottle and will reward extended cellaring of 10-15+ years.