Silver and green flashes on sun goldened newspaper. This wine meets you with alluringly sweet white florals, quickly followed by frying butter and stone fruit. Its personality runs deep with toasty oak and creamy yeast combining with the fruit to produce a myriad of pastry dessert-inspired descriptors. Although the entry to the palate is soft and creamy this gives a false sense of what is to come as it builds quickly adding elements of zesty lemon, wood smoke, grapefruit pith and rock salt in a smack around the chops finish. A wine that demands your attention, made by Chardonnay geeks.
To put it bluntly, we completely geek out over the growing and making of this wine. Mendoza is the clone of choice (often over 90% of final wine) and this choice coupled with 29-year-old vines, leaves us very susceptible to poor fruit set and very low crops. But we feel there is no comparison to Mendoza for its fruit intensity and power. Good exposure of the fruit in the vineyard is pivotal in getting the right flavour profile and avoiding disease.
We aim to create a 10-15 barrel blend (depending on fruit set) each year, and through the use of picking date, sequential pressing straight to barrel, oak, wild or natural starter yeast, malolactic fermentation and barrel stirring, every barrel develops a distinct and different personality from the next. Through combining all these different personalities, the final blend has greater complexity and completeness — plus it’s far more fun making wine this way.
We were treated with exceptionally good weather during spring 2017 which led to great fruit set in the Mendoza Chardonnay. A hot and wet season transpired and only due to some meticulous grape growing were we jumping with excitement during our first pick on the 20th of March.
The wine is made up of four parcels of fruit picked with a whole month going by between the first and last pick. Generalizing, the first two parcels produced barrels that had steely acidity and burst with green apple and lemon characters. The third parcel was from our much loved “Hellblock” and provided barrels with real grapefruit pith intensity and salty acidity. The fourth parcel provided some old school Chardonnay grunt with rich stone fruit and pineapple pop. Each barrel gradually became it’s own person over nine months, before being combined into one blend in mid-January. The wine was then stabilized, very lightly fined and bottled in March.