Chardonnay was the absolute star of the Adelaide Hills in 2017. It was just killer...all over the region...and we rode the wave as best we could. Heaps of flavour, heaps of acid, heaps of funk. Sounds a bit like Jamiroquai...or is that just us...(yes, 90's tragics)...
It was a pleasure to be back doing our thing in the superb Bowe-Lees vineyard in Woodside. We get together with owners Ann and Michael each year and have a coffee and mull over life, the universe, the vineyard, the wines and everything. They seem to like what we're doing with their fruit and that's almost the highest praise we can think of.
With a happy 2016 vintage under our belts we didn't do anything too different in 2017. It was a wonderful, cool year so we picked it by hand fairly late, and the fruit came in looking pristine. The vineyard is 23 years old now, so some nice maturity to the vines.
As usual we whipped off the shoes and socks and set to it, stomping the fruit with very serious faces on. The juice spent 24 hours on its skins, adding interesting flavour and textural components before being basket pressed into French oak barrels for a natural fermentation. Once in there we left the juice on its lees, with regular topping but without any stirring, until racking and bottling in February 2018. It didn't go through malo-lactic fermentation and the final wine was neither fined nor filtered.
We leave all our wines alone in barrel, un-messed with, quietly maturing at their own speed. Tranquilo! We prefer not even to taste too often as it can sometimes make you doubt yourself and your philosophy. Just trust the quality of the fruit, the decision to pick when you did, and the minimal winemaking. 2017 has given us another wine in the mould of 2016, with terrific natural acidity, savoury complexity, funk, lemon zest, ginger spice and texture to burn. It's vital; it sings; it is a ring of flaming grapefruits.
120 dozen made <> 12.2% alc / vol <> N.B. no wax seal any more
What others said about the last vintage (2016)...
Review by Gary Walsh at http://www.winefront.com.au (Apr 2017)
“It’s a wild struck match, oyster shell and funky chicken affair, grilled nuts, Japanese ginger and white peach, with ruby red grapefruit too. Light to medium bodied, silky and milky, with a firm crunch of acidity and flint, and a tangy citrus-laced finish of maximum chalky length. Charismatic. Great to drink too.” 95/100 Points. Drink: 2017 – 2023
12 bottles of Chardonnay 2017 ($36)
Dozen price: $432
Tonic 100 member price: $372