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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > NEW WORLD: Chardonnay Australia

Winner Details

New World: Chardonnay, Australia

2017 Gold: 5 Silver: 7 Bronze: 3 Commended: 8
2016 Gold: 4 Silver: 4 Bronze: 5 Commended: 6

 

The stylistic shift in Aussie Chardonnay has been well documented over the past few years, but it’s interesting that somms’ attitudes to it seem to be changing, too. Several well-respected tasters made the point that these wines are genuine alternatives to good Burgundy, and that mind set had an impact on the shape of this year’s Gold List wines.

Previously, most of the Golds have tended to be between £10 and £15, with maybe one wine over £20 as a doggie treat to the tasters. But this year we had three wines between £10 and £20, one between £20 and £30 and one at almost £40. These wines, clearly, are doing a very different job from what restaurants expected of this category 20 years ago.

Interesting, too, to see the rise of Tasmania. Along with the well-established Margaret River, it looks like the region to watch.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘There was very good consistency in this flight; some big, oaky wines and also lighter styles. It was interesting to see how Chardonnay styles are evolving in Australia. You can still say it’s Australian Chardonnay – but they are elegant, classy.’ Marcin Oziebly, The Wild Rabbit

‘There were some good examples of the style that is coming out of Margaret River now: cleaner, fresher, more elegant.’ Andre Luis Martins, Cavalry & Guards Club

‘There were some great examples of modern Australian Chardonnay here. There was a range of styles from the over-the-top fruity to classic old-style Aussie Chardonnay.’ Hamish Anderson, Tate Catering

‘I don’t think that customers have a fixed idea of the style of Australian Chardonnay. My customers ask for Margaret River Chardonnay and I have two on my list. One is a Burgundy style and one is lighter with more fruitiness.’ Federico Forte, Plateau

‘Margaret River seems to be following the Mornington Peninsula cool-climate trend, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Mendoza clones are planted here, rather than the Dijon clones that are in Mornington, and they give big, tropical fruit flavours.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader

Award winners

Found 23 wines

New World: Chardonnay, Australia

Nicholson River Winery, Chardonnay 2014, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

Gold medal winner

A unanimous choice for our tasting panel, and ‘a wine of a different level, with great oak use and freshness of fruit, golden apple, pineapple and vanilla notes’, according to team leader Laurent Richet MS, with Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson noting ‘lemon peel, wax and honey, an old school feel with toast and cream, depth of flavour and generosity’. Agustin Trapero of Avenue found ‘complex ripe mango and mandarins, with white chocolate notes and yoghurt texture’. ‘Huge depth and intensity, such a lovely mouthfiller, fab wine,’ concluded Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering.

£29.67 Nicholson River Winery

Josef Chromy, Chardonnay 2015, Tasmania, Australia

Gold medal winner

Judges heaped praise on this Gold Lister. ‘Great nose of fragrant lemon zest and flint, followed by a broad, creamy palate with lots of life throughout, a twist of lemon juice and apple fruit, appealingly long, with acid making it good for food matching,’ began Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson, with Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering finding ‘big intensity of flavour, very lively acidity, and a great foodie wine for creamy chicken dishes’.

£14.66 Bibendum

LAS Vino, Chardonnay 2015, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Gold medal winner

‘A lovely example, vibrant, fresh and clean, with lifted acidity and well-integrated oak,’ began team leader Annette Scarfe MW in her praise of this Gold winner, while Simon Cassina of Winexponent found ‘apple and green apricot aromas, vanilla oak with sweet spices and clean, fresh grassy notes – well made, balanced and harmonious on the palate’. The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira described ‘beautiful complexity on the nose, with green and red apple on the palate, with acidity balanced by spice and vanilla. A good wine to match with spicy Asian food.’

£27.50 Liberty Wines

Howard Park, Miamup, Chardonnay 2015, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Gold medal winner

With lots of ripe fruit, and such exceptional value for money, Gold was the only outcome here. ‘Peach, pear and vanilla,’ began team leader Lionel Periner, going on to describe a palate that was ‘well balanced, with tropical fruit and well-integrated oak, with good acidity’. ‘Fresh citrus with light vanilla and smoky oak aromas; on the palate there’s light butter and herbal notes, refreshing citrus with an elegant finish,’ added Cavalry & Guards Club’s Andre Luis Martins, while Quentin Loisel of Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms thought this a fine match for a salad Niçoise.

£12.24 Enotria&Coe

Stargazer, Chardonnay 2015, Tasmania, Australia

Gold medal winner

‘Lovely quality of fruit, with greengage and yellow plums, and some lovely flinty smoked character,’ began an enthused team leader Olivier Marie as this was led to the Gold podium, while Chez Bruce’s Adam Michocki called it ‘opulent, with a pronounced nose, creamy and buttery on the palate with some coconut and ripe pineapple, with good potential for ageing’. ‘I would recommend grilled cod or salmon,’ concluded The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira.

£22.64 Enotria&Coe

Fraser Gallop, Parterre, Chardonnay 2014, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Rich, ripe, full-bodied style, creamy on the mid-palate, well crafted use of oak, complex and multi-layered,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Plateau’s Federico Forte noting ‘complex aromas of vanilla candy, ripe mango, apricot jam, a hint of powder keg on a creamy palate, with herbal notes and a savoury mineral finish’.

£16.27 Bibendum

Yering Station, Little Yering, Chardonnay 2013, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Oak to the fore, but there’s nice weight on the palate, with nice fruit and lovely texture and length,’ said team leader Olivier Marie, with Richard Allen of Adam’s Restaurant highlighting its ‘complexity, lightness of fruit, strong character and good balance’.

£8.79 Bibendum

Penfolds, Bin 311, Tumbarumba, Chardonnay 2014, New South Wales, Australia

Silver medal winner

Hamish Anderson of Tate Catering enjoyed its ‘lovely definition’, highlighting a ‘fun nose with cream and spice notes allied to reduction and flinty elements, a taut, focused palate, very modern Aussie Chardonnay style with lemon, minerals and warm honey’. ‘Lovely complexity brought by the oak use, and a slight herbal/savoury note,’ added team leader Laurent Richet MS.

£17.93 Majestic Commercial

Ochota Barrels, The Slint Vineyard, Chardonnay 2015, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Aromatic nose with kiwi, pineapple and papaya character on the palate and a milky, creamy finish,’ began Agustin Trapero of Avenue, while team leader Laurent Richet MS found it a classic style, with ‘great balance of oak, fruit and acidity; long, with golden apple fruit and notes of toast and butter’.

£18.95 Indigo Wine

Fowles Wine, Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch, Wild Ferment, Chardonnay 2015, Victoria, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Hints of toasty brioche and almonds on the nose, fresh and creamy at the same time on the palate with nice minerality and beautifully balanced,’ said Adam Michocki of Chez Bruce, while team leader Olivier Marie found ‘intense, ripe stone fruit character, Asian spices, coconut and vanilla pods’.

£17.44 Enotria&Coe

Innocent Bystander, Chardonnay 2015, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Silver medal winner

Team leader Angela Reddin found ‘rock melon, pink grapefruit and vanillin on the nose, and there’s a smokiness evident in the mouth on a medium-bodied palate, which manages to stay lean yet has good weight’.

£12.04 Liberty Wines

Ocean Eight, Verve, Chardonnay 2014, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Lively, balanced and characterful, with big warmth on the mid-palate,’ began Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering, who ventured it could be ‘a clear challenge for dishes where you might be thinking white Burgundy’. ‘Open and fragrant wine, with banana and mango touches, notes of roasted pine nuts and a creamy, long finish,’ added Avenue’s Agustin Trapero.

£24.81 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Oakridge, Local Vineyard Series, Chardonnay 2014, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Big, oaky, structured style, butterscotch with sweet yoghurt on a palate strong on tropical fruit,’ said Marcin Oziebly of The Wild Rabbit, continuing: ‘Relatively old-fashioned maybe, but delivers fantastic length with great intensity and sweet spices in balance with the fruit.’

£16.97 Matthew Clark

Langmeil, High Road, Chardonnay 2015, Eden Valley, South Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Flowery peach aromas, ripe fleshy fruit and focused oak on the nose, textured and lifted on the palate, with composed fruit and delivery,’ said Bleeding Heart Group’s Christopher Delalonde MS. ‘Nice richness but not too big, nice crème brûlée character on the palate,’ added The Wild Rabbit’s Marcin Oziebly.

£9.86 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Tolpuddle, Chardonnay 2015, Tasmania, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Restrained yet fleshy aromas of spring flowers, chalky minerals with composed oak,’ said Bleeding Heart Group’s Christopher Delalonde MS, who enjoyed its ‘super-elegant delivery with style, precision and class, white fruit, notes of salt, butter and flint on the palate, great acid structure and a long, cleansing finish’.

£27.04 Liberty Wines

Heirloom, Chardonnay 2016, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£11.00 Liberty Wines

Peccavi, Chardonnay 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£17.00 Genesis Wines

Robert Oatley, The Pennant, Chardonnay 2013, Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia

Commended medal winner

£18.78 Hatch Mansfield

Shingleback, Red Knot, Chardonnay 2016, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£9.25 Matthew Clark

Katnook Estate, Founders Block, Chardonnay 2014, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

Kooyong, Clonale, Chardonnay 2016, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

Commended medal winner

£14.03 Enotria&Coe

Madfish, Unwooded, Chardonnay 2015, Western Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£8.62 Enotria&Coe

Shaw & Smith, M3, Chardonnay 2015, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£18.26 Liberty Wines

 

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