Wine writer and importer, Mike Turner, argues that there are two main reasons for putting cool climate Chardonnay on your list – price and food-pairing – when he attends a masterclass of Chardonnay from Adelaide Hills at the London date of the Australia Day Tasting 2017.
If there are customers who think that they don’t like New World Chardonnay because of the oak bombs of the past then think again. The cool climate Chardonnay from Adelaide Hills are a real eye-opener for their freshness and balance.
ABCs. The Anything-But-Chardonnay drinkers.
I know some. You know some.
Let’s be honest, some of you out there might even be them yourselves.
From one aspect I kind of understand it, as so many Chardonnays were made in the same style for so many years, it’s easy to lump it all in together and get bored of it. But you’re missing out, and not just when it comes to the top end Burgundies.
My morning sat in a masterclass at the Australia Day Tasting event this week opened some eyes up about Aussie Chardonnay Mark 2!
I walked in and was faced with eight gleaming glasses of cool and fresh-looking wine staring back at me.
All were Chardonnays from the Adelaide Hills, one of the prime cool climate areas in Australia, with a diversity of soil and a diurnal range that white wine producers can only usually dream about.
The expert panel consisted of Mark Davidson of Wine Australia, Marty Edwards of The Lane Vineyard, and Sam Stephens of Penfolds, who merrily got on with talking through the finer points of what we were slurping on whilst the audience tried to cope with the fresh acidity at God-knows-what-time it was in the morning.
I didn’t go into that room with any prejudice about Australian Chardonnay. Maybe it’s because my wine drinking days started relatively recently, and I missed the 90s and early 00s of oak bombs. I’ve heard those things described as “like sucking on a piece of 2 by 4.”
So, as much as I’ve never had huge issues with them, Chardonnay producers (especially from the likes of Australia and the US) have an uphill task to convince the general public that the days of the one trick pony are over. But they know it and they’re going for it!
The last few years in Australia have been all about two things: site selection and clonal selection.
The big brand dudes sat in the Riverlands or the Murray Darling belt producing voluminous quantities of over-ripe grapes that need the big oak hit just to get by are still there of course.
But it’s the premium producers from the likes of Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley, and Tasmania that have found you can produce really elegant and naturally acidic stuff without a huge amount of fuss.
In fact, growing conditions in Adelaide Hills were so good in 2015 that Marty Edwards noted “if you couldn’t make a great wine in 2015, you should probably give up the game.” The grapes and winemakers are in the right areas to do some serious wines these days.
I think there are two pretty good reasons to get the cool climate Chardonnays from Australia on your lists.
First up is for the foodies out there.
This stuff is so elegant, refreshing, but full of flavour that you can taste about three of them and have them paired with nine dishes off your menu in a heartbeat. Get yourself a good bottle of Adelaide Hills Chardonnay and you could sit yourself in a Yo! Sushi or a Nando’s and still have a great time!
The other kicker is the price.
Look these are premium wines, so they’re not exactly £5 a go. But if I were to pick out one of my favourites of the tasting, Marty’s own “Beginning Chardonnay 2015”, Corney and Barrow have this on for an RRP of under £20. This is for a seriously premium Chardonnay. That’s not bad at all.
The point being is this: cool climate regions in Australia, like Adelaide Hills, are showing off Australia’s true potential these days with Chardonnay, and are a lot more accessible than you think. Make sure you get your nose in a few glasses!
For any information about the specific wines tasted at the masterclass, please contact either us directly at Please Bring Me My Wine, or Wine Australia.