(2018) From the Fleurieu Peninsula of McLaren Vale, very close to the ocean and city of Adelaide, this is a very good example of the new Australian Chardonnay: no sign here of that heavy vanilla oak or blockbuster ripeness: with 12.5% alcohol this is rich, rounded and crammed with sweet fruit that takes centre stage. There is a touch of that flinty character that makes Chablis so appealing, but then the juicy, sweet orange and peach fruit.
(2017) Another classic, a bone-dry Riesling from the Clare Valley, there's a nice hint of the floral and beeswax side of Riesling to the otherwise fresh and limey fruit, even a hint of exotic lychee. Rippling with salt and chalk acidity, there is nevertheless plenty of lime, sliced apple and juicy Mandarin orange fruit to balance, in a long, shimmering wine.
(2012) Proof positive that Australian Chardonnay has changed, in the shape of this pristine, 12.5% alcohol wine from the Wirra Wirra team in McLaren Vale. The nose is all about apple and citrus (orange more than lemon probably) with a subtle melon and gently tropical tone beneath. On the palate a limey streak of fruit and acidity keeps the picture taut and fresh, though it is a wine with a bit of texture and nutty breadth too. The 12.5% was achieved purely by early picking of the grapes apparently, and matching up with some smoked salmon or a any seafood dish would work really well.
(2012) St Hallett's blend of 60% Semillon, 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Riesling is always a winner combining exotic, ripe-fruited drinkability and real zing. Here at its bargain price it is a Spring and Summer banker. Punchy, herb-tinged stuff, with some lime cordial and a hint of waxiness, the Riesling apparent on the nose. The palate has delicious mouth-filling fruit, just loads of flavour and texture, the pithy lemon dryness of the finish adding lovely balance.
(2012) The Adelaide Hills has become a hotspot for cooler climate styles of Chardonnay in South Australia, the little bit of elevation dropping a few degrees of average temperature from vineyards on the flat. This wine is lightly oaked, and offers nicely vanilla and brioche-licked aromas of fresh pear and apple, with just hints of more tropical fruit beneath. On the palate the wine delivers full fruit sweetness: with 14.5% alcohol this is short on neither texture or impact, the oatmeal and custard richness of the oak and texture sitting very nicely beneath the crisp fruit and elegant apple acidity of the finish. Lovely with some pork and cinnamon-apple stuffing.
(2011) 12.5%. Clare Valley. A gentle, waxed lemon nose has a little hint of something mineral and salty too, teetering on the paraffin character that some love more than others in their Riesling. On the palate this is dry, with a lovely sense of smooth, limpid clarity to the lemon and apple fruit and acidity. Quite a full texture, the pithy, drying finish keeping it sharp.
(2010) There's an attractively fresh, aromatic pear character to this wine with just a touch of buttery pastry in the background. On the palate it is dry and mouth-watering, with a juiciness to the apple and pear fruit and a background that it nutty and quite rich, with little herbal tones. Quite powerfully concentrated, yet light in alcohol, this has a bit of bite and character.
(2010) No oak, but some lees ageing gives this wine a fresh, apple and blossom character, with a touch of oatmeal and a light nuttiness. On the palate the fruit is ripe and juicy, with a touch of pithy grapefruit but that apple crunch and melon juiciness. The citrussy acidity is good, and this Chablis-style chardonnay has good concentration and length.
(2010) An immediate richness of honey, oatmeal and dried apricot fruit floods the nose of this unoaked Viognier, fermented with wild yeast and aged on its lees. There's a touch of smoky spice too in an exotic and alluring profile. On the palate the very ripe fruit has a biting tang of bitter orange over that apricot flavour, a lemongrass zest and crunch and a phenolic grip giving this layers of concentration and structure. It is a big, attention-grabbing wine this, perhaps let down by a touch too much alcohol and a slight astringency, but if you like this style it is really very good.
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