Set in the lush hilly end of the Yarra Valley a bit north of Healesville, Tarrawarra seems suited to sophisticated Chardonnay as well as having a extraordinarily beautiful private gallery which has hosted some of the best of modern Australian art. This reserve bottling from the cool season of 2012 opened pale and surprisingly unwrinkled by age. Spice and oak clear away to let grapefruit, quince and some fancy tickling floral honey combine in both smell and taste. Not huge in concentration but suave in shape and glide. Comparisons may be odious but this grape variety, its oak barrels and making methodology were born in France, so perhaps the Burgundy allusion is unavoidable and just? The acidity has the soft cool elan and delicious cut of its now unaffordable mentors. Thankfully barely any of that reductive spent matchstick that the fashionistas of modern Chardonnay deem essential. Hopefully the pendulum of trend will settle somewhere around this sort of confident balance. Lovely work of modern Australian wine art.
12.8% alcohol. Upmarket Luxe screwcap. $60 spoil at the cellar door.
A very upmarket bottle of fizz from Chardonnay grown in the hallowed Grand Cru turf of Le Mesnil sur Oger in the Côte de Blancs. Opens with a bottle aged, nose tingling whack of barley sugar, dead yeast and lemon peel. Amazingly still bubbly on day two, it just threw off the blankets of age and awoke fresher and full of energy. More hedgerow flowers, touch of peach, candied citrus and gingerbread spice in aroma and mouthful. The structure sets it apart from any other BdB I’ve been lucky enough to share. Extraordinary vice like grip of shining steel acidity, paradoxically fine and pinpoint, carries the flavours on and on like a TGV at top speed. A smooth, powerful ride. Don’t think the ticket’s exactly affordable on a daily commute basis.
12% alcohol. Cork. Glad I didn’t have to pay for it, current release retails well over $200, gulp.
Australia’s two dominant supermarket leviathans both dabble in direct imports with Coles’ attempts even less well organised than their competitor’s hit and miss attempts. Coles’ fine wine arm, Vintage Cellars, somehow still manage to import La Chablisienne’s lovely wines without much obvious promotion which leads to some occasional irresistible discounts. The last was a “cellar frenzy” sale with this Chablis reduced to $21.50 a bottle in a six pack purchase. Don’t think credit card details have ever been so quickly entered. There’s always an anxious wait to see which vintage turns up as something as simple as stock rotation and customer service seem just too difficult. Worry turned to glee as four 2014s under Diam and two 2017s under screwcap turned up, as unlikely and as fist pumping as a Southampton home win. The Diam’s done a proper job as there’s a touch of lanolin reduction and a pale colour as things open up in the glass. Gentle Chardonnay smells and a soft palate that seems a bit dilute, oh well, it’s a cooperative wine. How wrong first impressions can be. Second day the airing had swept away the reduction and the colour deepened. Real Chablis perfume and flavour bite. Ripe citrus, quince, stony sweet green herbals, salinity and that sour lactic yoghurt twang. Delicious basic Chablis! Next one’s going to get double decanted and patience will be a virtue waiting a day for a sip. Six bottles doesn’t seem nearly enough now.
12.50% alcohol. Diam. $21.50, Coles’ shareholders may not be happy.
92 points but a lot of value Chablis pleasure.
From the Qantas Wine on line shop, 15,000 frequent flier points a bottle seemed like a good use for one who flies less frequently these days. That’s a lot of short flights to Adelaide and back. You can only wonder how such a small production, sought after bottle ended up amongst the usual commercial stuff on Qantas’ site? Probably should have waited a few years to open this as it’s a surly adolescent at the moment. Smells a little of oak spice and cedar with a fleeting waft of green citrus, sour lactics and chalk. Same sort of thing in terms of taste. The second day there’s some rich dry extract but still little fruit sweetness. A powerful event horizon of recent bottling and shipping half way around the world that seems to have swallowed any light of flavour. Happy there’s another bottle that’s gone to rest in a dark cool place for as long as both palate and patience may last. Think it’ll be worth the wait. Tree bark willing, of course.
12.50% alcohol. Cork. Good use of points.
93++ points. Experience with older good vintages from Moreau Naudet suggest a treat awaits.
Looks like this is a bottling for the ubiquitous French chain of Nicolas by the large and great quality cooperative, La Cave des Vignerons de Chablis. Certified organic too which is becoming a common thing in not just the more fashionable cavistes. This is just mouth-wateringly delicious text book Chablis. From first sniff to last wistful sip, a perfect demonstration of Chardonnay like no other. Rich in ripe green and yellow fruit and that chalky, yoghurt sour cut. Good volume for a basic, just not quite the intensity for the great, but so amazingly delicious. Impossible to put the glass down for anything but a moment to wonder how Chardonnay can taste like this and perhaps a nibble of another gougere.
12.50% alcohol. Cork. 17.50 euros.
93 points but more if terroir counts.
Having never stared a partridge in the eye, we’ll have to believe les gens de Champagne about the colour. Perhaps they still go out and shoot their dinner? Developed blanc de noirs or pale rosé? Research suggests it’s an old rosé de presse method to give a little colour. Anyway, there’s some aristocratic grapes in this, 75% Pinot Noir from Aÿ and 25% Chardonnay from Avise. Grand crus amongst grand crus perhaps? Fine definition of red fruit spiced with a touch of barrel that recedes as the bubbles burst. Sugar dusted raspberries, candied citrus and almost cinnamon, poised and precise, all cut into shape by pinpoint chalky acidity. Beautifully tailored, subtle, no flashy bling.
About 12% alcohol probably? Cork. Extremely thoughtful apero, thanks!
The front label is much prettier but goodness, don’t you wish all NV Champagne had a back label with this much info? If you just like glugging Veuve then you’re probably indifferent and aren’t reading this anyway. For the price of anodyne LVMH you can have this though. Sparklingly clean in every sense, flowers, crystallised citrus, touch of yeasty patisserie and driving linear acidity carrying all those flavours a long way. Contained, subtle power that rules on shiny polished rails. The reserve wine and time on those little yeast beasties just add intricacy to the chalky sense of place. Côte des Blancs precision from an obsessively quality driven producer who only makes small amounts of bliss like this. This would make even the most jaded appetite drool.
12% alcohol. Cork. $70 or thereabouts direct from the importer.