(2019) From a range named in honour of Max Schubert, the winemaker who created Penfolds Grange, this is Chardonnay sourced from the cool Adelaide Hills. The Hills were the original source of fruit for Yattarna, Penfolds' 'white Grange' project, which sells for £100+ per bottle, and although Yattarna is now a blend with Tasmanian fruit, the Adelaide Hills is prime Chardonnay country for Penfolds and many other top brands. This is a terrific example at its affordable price, of the precision and freshness the terroir here can give. Aged in French oak, but only 20% of it new, there's oatmeal and nougat on the nose, stone fruit aromas and a flinty whiff of Chablis-like reduction. Only 12.5% alcohol tells of early picking, which helps with that, and on the palate brings a huge surge of lemon zestiness to the ripe fruit and barrel-derived richness and toasty fullness. I found this to a very classy Chardonnay in a thoroughly modern New World style. Watch the video for more information.
(2017) Very attractive blend between a touch of creamy, waxy textural weight and tangy fruit with a nettle edge. The palate too has some weight and some fat, with a lemon jelly brightness but then that running stream clarity with the softer mouthfeel onto the long, very firm acidity in the finish
(2017) The family has been making wine in the Clare for 30 years. There's a firm green character to this single vineyard wine, with a suggestion of phenolic melon skins and lime rind, the palate delivering a shock of dry grapefruit pith acidity, a slightly fatter lime character coming through, but that chalky dry acidity punches through. Should mature nicely.
(2017) A slightly more floral and more elegant character on the nose than the Pikes, a touch of exotic fruit and waxiness. The palate has a real intensity, lemon and lime streaking through, a bit of wet pebble mineral character. Prettier than the Pikes.
(2017) From a 1973 vineyard, still worked by owners who are in their 80s. Quite a phenolic character, melon rind and light waxiness, with a touch of green, but streaking with juicy acidity, sharp apple and citrus fruit, but a little bit of bright lemony character too. For the future.
(2017) A blend of fruit from a 1960s dry-grown vineyard and a 1990s vineyard. A bit of richness here, a bit of smoky minerals, with again a mineral chalkiness to the acidity, a bit of more vivacious grapefruit and lime fruit.
(2017) Creamy and waxy, a delicious bright apple purity and streak of lime. A lovely midway point between the shimmering acid brightness of youth and the butter and wax development. long and minty into the finish.
(2017) It's fair to say that some of the tasters hadn't experienced top-level Clare Riesling before, and this baby Polish Hill delivered a great shock of electrically-charged lime and a little petrolly minerality that took some by surprise. The palate is so intense, riven by its citrus and tight apple fruit and that massive concentration of acidity. Needs five years or more to really sing, when its score may well notch up a point or two.
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