A masterclass led by Phil Sexton from Innocent Bystander/Giant Steps, and Martin Spedding from Ten Minutes by Tractor, explores new wave Aussie chardonnay from the Yarra Valley
La Chablisienne is one of those rare enough things, a quality-orientated co-operative that’s also blessed by its members with some great vineyard plots, which boost its reputation overall. In addition, the co-op has explored in some depth the status quo on minerality.
Forget skinny lattes, skinny is a new model for Aussie chardonnay – lean, maybe a bit mean, very clean, even edging to green. The style has been around for a while, as Tom Carson, winemaker at Yabby Lake in the Mornington Peninsula explained “these wines have been here in Australia but they didn’t have too much of a voice. Now, everyone is talking about these wines, and how fine they are.”
All sixteen progeny of pinot x gouais blanc
A logistical misadventure meant Michael Glover, the winemaker at Bannockburn Vineyards in Geelong, Victoria had to leave one of his chardonnays on its lees for three years rather than the usual two. It turned out to be an excellent decision.
The Gippsland zone is vast, about a quarter of the total area of the state of Victoria. The scale of viticulture is miniscule, about 1% that of neighbouring Yarra Valley. But the region is right on-trend with its cool climate locale.
At a tasting masterclass in London, Clare Valley’s Wakefield/Taylors chief winemaker Adam Eggins joined forces with viticulturist Marty Edwards, of The Lane in the Adelaide Hills, to expound the differences and evolving styles. Chardonnay and shiraz were the focus of the tasting.
Michael Glover, the winemaker at Bannockburn in Victoria’s Geelong, hasn’t thrown away chardonnay lees for five years. “It’s like a yeast mother” he said.
When Wine Australia held a tasting in London during November of wines from Victoria that are available in the UK, I focused on pinot noir and chardonnay to explore cool climate expressions.
Tom Carson is pushing the envelope when it comes to making pinot noir in Australia, and is a strong advocate of wines of place.