We feel like we took a big leap forward with the 2015 Chardonnay, which fairly fills us with trepidation for this 2016 model. We made it in exactly the same way, with fruit from the same rows of 22 year old vines in the Bowe-Lees vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. So any difference you're seeing is all about the season. 2016 was another great year in the Hills, with a warm and early start to the growing season. We picked on 18 February, 6 days earlier than 2015.
After the grapes were hand-picked, we chilled them overnight before foot stomping them over several hours (cold and foot-numbing work!). They soaked on their skins for 36 hours 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 January 2017. It didn't go through malo-lactic fermentation and the final wine was neither fined nor filtered.
Sometimes it's harder not to interfere with a developing wine, but that's how we wanted to play it. As always, the light handling in the winery was aimed at promoting texture, complexity and deliciousness. 2016 has certainly given us tangy Chardonnay, with a grilled lemon sort of juiciness, texture through the middle and heaps of the ginger spice we see every year. Struck match funk and some mineral complexity complement the generosity of flavour perfectly.
50 dozen made <> 12.3% alc / vol
12 bottles of Chardonnay 2016 ($35)
Dozen price: $420