We source the grapes for our wine from a vineyard in the northern part of the Margaret River region. The type of chardonnay clone used can have quite a significant effect on the final flavour and style of the wine, and some clones are better suited to making certain wine styles than others.
The chardonnay grape clone I prefer is the gin-gin or Mendoza clone. The grape bunches are quite distinctive, being made up of a mix of very small, miniaturised berries along with the standard sized grape berries. This marked size difference is called hen and chicken sized berries (millerandage). This clone tends to produce the more complex flavoured chardonnay due to the special mix of concentrated flavours coming from the smallest berries (the chickens), combined with the natural acidity retained in the larger berries (the hens).
What’s Special About our Chardonnay:
Firstly, it’s using the gin-gin clone, secondly, it’s how we ferment and mature our chardonnay. Once ferment has just started, the cloudy juice is transferred into a mix of French oak barrels of varying ages (25% new, 50% one year old, and 25% 2 year old) and of varying sizes (300L hogsheads, and 500L puncheons).
After fermentation, similar to our Sauvignon Blanc, I leave our chardonnays in contact with the yeast lees for an extended period of time, in our case it’s from 11 to 12, sometimes 14 months, but is usually closer to 12 months. The finished wine will end up with a creamier mouthfeel or texture, more flavour complexity, and a long lingering finish. To assist this flavour development process, the yeast lees are stirred fortnightly for the first 3 months then monthly for the next 6 months. I keep an eye on the progress of the battonage by tasting, and I stop stirring once the wine texture and structure is where I believe it to be nicely balanced
Our 2014 Chardonnay is a wine of great intensity and elegance. White peach, grapefruit, fig and lemon, along with a deliciously nutty aroma drift up from the glass. On the palate, this medium bodied wine shines, long and poised with a smooth creamy texture, and a lovely balance between the acidity and the flint-like mineral flavours on the finish
Vegetables, fruit & herbs which match well:
Potato, pumpkin, squash, pineapple sage, turnips, thyme, mustard, tarragon, corn, sage, lemon, quince, vanilla, pink grapefruit, yellow peach, white nectarine, rockmelon, honeydew melon, fig, marjoram
Roast lemon chicken; sweet potato chips; roast potatoes with rosemary and garlic; beef stroganoff; lamb and artichoke stew; nicoise braised beef; quail; seafood risotto.
James Halliday, 2016 Wine Companion – 90 pts:
“Made with the Gingin clone from a vineyard in the Metricup district; fermentation was started in tank at 150C, then transferred to French oak (25% new); kept on yeast in barrel for 11 months, stirring graduated down to nil. It is generously flavoured and well balanced.”.