(2019) Voyager Estate's 2016 Chardonnay is a class act, matured in French oak for 11 months (only 36% new barrels), and a complex blend of nine Chardonnay clones, naturally fermented with native yeasts. In many ways it is an exemplar of modern Australian Chardonnay, not over-ripe or over-oaked, with earlier picking lowering the alcohol and increasing the flinty, mineral-etched character of the wine. Some toasty and coffee-ish oak sets against stony, salty notes and lemon fruit, before the palate punches through, bright star fruit and Asian pear against more tropical fruits, the dazzle of pithy, zesty acidity, and all the time a lightly spicy and tobacco-infused infill from the time in barrel. A lovely Chardonnay, drinking well and it's savoury character bringing broad food-friendliness. Note: stockist at time of review is for an earlier vintage.
(2018) Though pressed straight to French oak barriques (50% new), this was inoculated with selected yeasts and did go through malolactic fermentation during its 18 months in barrel. It still has nice earthiness and a nicely 'dirty' component, a suggestion of real savouriness to come and something of an orange fruit character. The palate has plenty of that meaty umami character, there's juiciness and a touch of toast, but a long, dry and savoury wine.
(2018) From a single block of old Gin Gin clone Chardonnay on clay/loam soils that retain moisture and need little irrigation. Again this was whole-bunch pressed into larger French oak barrels and fermented with wild yeast. It spent 10 months ageing in barrel (40% new). Much more obvious Brazil nut oak, but also a little bit of flinty reductive character. Lovely palate, the acid powerful and intense, but a hugely decisive wine without losing fruit or charm. Lovely wine from a winery that does not own vineyards, but sources this fruit from the cooler South of the region. Note stockist and price quoted is for 2015 vintage.
(2018) Heytesbury is a selection of the best vineyards and fruit. 100% Gin Gin, the recipe again was for pressing straight to barrel and fermentation with wild yeast. Lees were stirred regularly during nine months ageing in 57% new French oak. Subtle wild ferment earthiness and nuttiness, a juicy directness, firm and acidic, it stays quite grippy and intense, but very good fruit. This has length and a good balance and certainly the fruit and infill of creamy oak to give lovely balance.
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