(2023) This is the entry level Chardonnay from one of Margaret River's star estates, and one of the founding wineries of the region. Winemaker Virginia Willcock loves a bit of flinty character and this is both wild fermented and with just 12.5% alcohol obviously picked early to emphasise that character and refreshing natural acidity. Seven months in French oak barriques (13% new) and batonnage give it richness too. Cashew and oatmeal on the nose, a touch of butter and lemon, and that wisp of fresh-struck flint. In the mouth it is medium bodied and elegant, with a sweet edge to the oranges and lemon fruit, plenty of acid bite and great clarity to the finish. Very good value on a Â£10.99 mixed six deal. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2023) A lovely example of the new style Australian Chardonnay, for which Margaret River is one of the hot spots. Only 12.5% alcohol, the oak is so delicately handled (French oak barriques, only 13% new), so the wine does have a little toastiness and creaminess, but vivid touches of flint and pea pod as well as fat lemon and sweet nectarine fruit. In the mouth the fruit has plenty of sweetness and ripeness, but the acid line and that flinty hint of reduction gives a fine, nicely sparky finish.Another very recommendable wine at the mixed six/Scottish price of Â£12.99 in Majestic.
(2022) From Margaret River in Western Australia, and weighing in with just 12.5% alcohol, this is a Chardonnay in a cool and flinty style. Malolactic was blocked to retain acidity and the wine was matured in French oak barriques (20% new). There is plenty of buttery Brazil nut and that struck match wisp on the nose, but beneath the fruit seems ripe and bright. In the mouth there's a cool, almost minty freshness to the fruit, the oak more subtle and adding a creamy sheen. It's a poised and carefully-crafted style. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Made by a winemaker with considerable experience in Margaret River having worked for both Leeuwin and Cape Mentelle. A subtle pea pod character, but quite restrained and a touch of leesy breadth. Lots of biting, strong character here, a very intense wine with a little buttery or even minty character. Perhaps a touch of barrel ferment here?
(2021) The blend is 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc, the fruit organically grown and the wine fermented with wild yeasts. There is a crisp gooseberry, nettle and lemon character on the nose, vivacious but not pungently green. In the mouth, a lovely style and balance here, with more of the gooseberry sharpness to the fruit, a little infill of juicier peach, but the finish tight and nicely defined by citrus and green apple bite of acidity to leave a mouth-watering finish.
(2015) Quite a lot of coffeeish oak on the nose - no shortage, with a brazil nut butteriness and plenty of tropical fruit. The palate has lovely sweetness of fruit, with a salty mineral finish. Quite a striking finish, a touch austere, maybe just a hint of falling away right in the finish? A modern style Australian from Adelaide Hills perhaps? Tasted blind.
(2014) Made for M&S by Larry Cherubino of Robert Oatley Vineyards, there's a lovely oak quality, with cream and hazelnut, and plenty of orchard fruit beneath. Fine quality, the glistening core of acid is delightful, and gives the wine so much energy, life and poise. An exemplar of the new Australian Chardonnay and gorgeous to drink.
(2012) Australia again, but a complete change of style for this long-time favourite of wine-pages, the 3 Amigos. A blend of Marsanne, Chardonnay and Roussanne with a splash of Viognier is part-fermented in barrel using wild yeasts. It has a deliciously appetising nose where licks of lanolin and honey around stone fruits - peach, apricot and yellow plum - dominate over subtle spice. On the palate this is full and rich, with a weight of fruit and full texture, but a real clarity in the bone-dry finish showing very little oak influence and moderate 13.5% alcohol not too fierce. Ideal for coping with roast turkey.