‘Alexander Munro’ Chardonnay

Meerea Park first released a Chardonnay from the 1991 vintage and the ‘Alexander Munro’ Chardonnay was introduced as a reserve Chardonnay in 1997. Whole bunch pressing and fermentation in French oak all combine to make a rich, complex style.

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2015

2015-Alexander-Munro-ChardonnayRegion: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 13.5%

Background: Pioneer Hunter Valley winemaker, Alexander Munro was winemaker, Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label. The 2000 vintage was the Trophy winner at the 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show for current vintage Chardonnay.

Fruit source: The old-vine ‘Casuarina’ Vineyard located on Hermitage Road in Pokolbin was again the Chardonnay source for the 2015 ’Alexander Munro’ Chardonnay. This vineyard is managed by Ken Braye.

Fermentation: Handpicked fruit was whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented in French oak hogsheads of which close to 50% were new.

Maturation: After 12 months maturation and no malolactic fermentation allowed, we bottled in February 2016 under screwcap.

Winemaker’s comments: The start of vintage was marred by rain which caused some disease issues in some Hunter Valley vineyards. The old-vine ‘Casuarina’ vineyard overcame any issues and aided by the cooler weather gave us very high quality Chardonnay fruit, albeit, a very small quantity.

Tasting note: In the glass, it is pale straw in colour with tinges of green. An intense white peach and nectarine nose also has notes of well integrated spicy; toasty oak. The palate is generous in flavour, but remains refined with mouth-watering acidity, that gives it line, length, structure and poise. The length of flavour is extremely long. We said the 2014 was great, but it will be eclipsed by this wine.

Cellaring estimate: Medium term. 5—10 years.

Suggested food match: White meats such as chicken, pork, fuller flavoured fish including Ocean Trout and Salmon.

2014

2014-Alexander-Munro-Chardonnay[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 13.5%

Background:Pioneer Hunter Valley winemaker, Alexander Munro was winemaker, Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label. The 2000 vintage was the Trophy winner at the 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show for current vintage Chardonnay.

Fruit source:The old-vine ‘Casuarina’ Vineyard located on Hermitage Road in Pokolbin was again the Chardonnay source for the 2014 vintage. This vineyard is managed by Ken Braye.

Fermentation: Handpicked fruit was whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented in French oak hogsheads of which close to 50% were new.

Maturation:After 10 months maturation and no malolactic fermentation allowed, we bottled in February 2015 under screwcap.

Winemaker’s comments: 2014 was a dream vintage with everything falling into place. All the traditional Hunter Valley grape varieties excelled to the point there were no real standouts. There is a lot of talk around the Valley that 2014 is the best vintage since the fabled 1965 vintage for Shiraz.

Tasting note: A pale un-developed straw colour gives way to an powerful Nectarine and spicy toasty oak character on the nose. The palate is full-flavoured with layers of complexity. There is a lovely line of integrated acidity through the wine which gives it great structure and poise. The finish is extremely long. This is categorically the best ‘Alexander Munro’ Chardonnay we have made to date.

Cellaring estimate: Medium term. 5—8 years.

Suggested food match:White meats such as chicken, pork, fuller flavoured fish including Ocean Trout and Salmon.

What the experts say…

“Rhys Eather used grapes from the old-vine Casuarina vineyard in Hermitage Road, Pokolbin to make this Meerea Park flagship brand chardonnay. The fruit quality was assured because the vineyard is managed by master viticulturalist Ken Braye. The wine is green-tinted straw and has scents of mango and vanilla beans. Vibrant yellow nectarine flavour features on the front of the palate and cumquat, oatmeal and butterscotch fruit characters meld With vanillin oak on the middle palate. Lemony acid comes through at the finish.”

🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷John Lewis – Newcastle Herald – 9th May 2015

Hand-picked from the 40yo Casuarina Vineyard, whole bunch-pressed, fermented in French hogsheads (50% new). The oak is very evident on the bouquet, and to a slightly lesser  degree on the palate; there is a lot of stone fruit as a balance to the oak, and good acidity pulls the palate through to an emphatic conclusion.

Rated 93. James Halliday – 2016 Australian Wine Companion

2013

2013-Alexander-Munro-Chardonnay-FS[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 13.5%

Background: Alexander Munro was winemaker, Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label. The 2000 vintage was the Trophy winner at the 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show for current vintage Chardonnay.

Fruit source: The old-vine ‘Casuarina’ Vineyard located on Hermitage Road in Pokolbin was the Chardonnay source for the 2013 vintage.

Fermentation: Handpicked fruit was whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented in French oak barriques of which close to 50% were new.

Maturation: After 9 months maturation and no malolactic fermentation allowed, we bottled in January 2013 under screwcap.

Winemaker’s comments: 2013 in the Hunter Valley was warm and mainly dry and produced very high quality grapes covering all red and white varieties. A return to the ‘Casuarina’ vineyard for this label sees a slight step up in quality to the 2011 vintage.

Tasting note: A powerful stone-fruit nose complimented by spicy and toasty oak characters. The palate is full-flavoured, with the stone-fruit carrying through from the nose. There is a lovely line of acidity through the wine which gives it structure and focus, a great match for the extremely long finish.

Cellaring estimate: Medium term. 5—8 years.

Suggested food match: White meats such as chicken, pork, fuller flavoured fish including Ocean Trout and Salmon.

What the experts say:

The 2013 Alexander Munro Chardonnay offers expressive notes of apricots, guava and green mango with touches of cedar, cashews and meal. Medium-bodied, it fills the palate with ripe stone fruit and tropical flavors, nicely complimented with toasty notes and refreshing acidity, finishing long and creamy. Drink it now to 2018+.

Rated : 91+.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown – The Wine Advocate #213 – Jun 2014

2011

AM-CHAR-2011[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 13.5%

Background: Alexander Munro was winemaker, Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label. The 2000 vintage was the Trophy winner at the 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show for current vintage Chardonnay.

Fruit source: mildew problems with the ‘Casuarina’ vineyard led us to use fruit from the ‘Trevena’ vineyard which is directly across the road from ‘Casuarina’ on the same sandy loam soil.

Fermentation: Handpicked fruit was whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented in French oak barriques of which 40% were new.

Maturation: After 8 months maturation and no malolactic fermentation allowed, we bottled in October 2011 under screwcap.

Winemaker’s comments: 2011 panned out to be a great Hunter Valley vintage with Chardonnay stronger than Semillon for a change. Although there were disease pressures early on, January and February were particularly dry which allowed easy ripening in unaffected vineyards.

Tasting note: The nose has powerful stone-fruit and citrus aromas along with subtle spicy oak characters. The palate is full-bodied, with the stone-fruit and citrus carrying through from the nose. There is a lovely line of acidity through the wine and an extremely long finish.

Cellaring estimate: Medium term. 5—8 years.

Suggested food match: White meats such as chicken, pork, fuller flavoured fish including Ocean Trout and Salmon.

What the experts say:

The 2011 “Alexander Munro” Chardonnay offers expressive notes of ripe apricots, pineapple and orange blossom with hints of cashews, cedar and lightly buttered toast. Medium-bodied with a pleasant silkiness to the texture, the ripe stone fruit and toasty flavors are nicely off-set by refreshing acidity, finishing long with a zesty lift. Drink it now to 2016+.

90 Points

Lisa Perotti – Brown – The Wine Advocate #200

2009

AM-CHAR-2009[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 13.5%

Background: Alexander Munro was winemaker, Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label. The 2000 vintage was the Trophy winner at the 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show for current  vintage Chardonnay.

Fruit source: The wine is made from fruit harvested off a 40-year-old Chardonnay block on the ‘Casuarina Estate’ vineyard in Pokolbin which shares the same sandy soils as the iconic HVD vineyard owned by Tyrrells.

Fermentation: Handpicked fruit was whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented in French oak barriques of which 40% were new.

Maturation: After 8 months maturation and no malolactic fermentation allowed we bottled in November 2009 under screwcap.

Winemaker’s comments: 2009 began with some very warm weather which ripened the Hunter’s white varieties perfectly. Many local   winemakers are claiming that 2009 is the best Hunter Chardonnay   vintage since 2005.

Tasting note: It has fruit characters of  rockmelon, peach and nectarine on the nose and palate with lovely palate weight and   mouth-feel. The French oak has added some  complexity in the absence of malo, and retains sufficient acidity to create a very well balanced wine from release.

Cellaring estimate: Medium  term. 5—8 years.

Suggested food match: White meats such as chicken, pork, fuller flavoured fish including Ocean Trout and Salmon.

What the experts say:

“Some colour pick-up; very well made; nectarine and melon fruit swathed in a gauze of French oak, lengthened by citrussy acidity; 40-year-old vines.”

Rated 93

James Halliday – 2011 Australian Wine Companion

2008

AM-CHAR-2008[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hunter Valley

Background:
Alexander Munro was winemaker, Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label. The 2000 vintage was the Trophy winner at the 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show for current vintage Chardonnay.

Fruit Source:
The wine is made from fruit harvested off a 40-year-old Chardonnay block on the ‘Casuarina’ Estate vineyard in Pokolbin which shares the same sandy soils as the iconic HVD vineyard.

Fermentation & Maturation:
Handpicked fruit was whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented in French oak barriques of which 30% were new. After 6 months maturation and no malolactic fermentation allowed we bottled in August 2008 under screwcap.

Winemakers Comments:
2008, whilst very wet, has produced some terrific white wines from the Hunter Valley.       Chardonnay fared very well along with Semillon and Verdelho. The 13% alcohol is no real   indication to the flavour level.

It has fruit characters of white peach and nectarine on the nose and palate with a great line of acidity serving as a structural backbone. The French oak has added some complexity in the   absence of malo, with the wine showing lovely spice nuances.

Cellaring: Medium  term. 5—8 years.

What the experts say:

“I’ve had this open for three days now and it keeps improving. The fruit comes off the Casuarina vineyard in Pokolbin, the vine age being about 40 years. It’s still young and fruity with a mix of white peach, preserved lemon and spice. Only medium bodied and sporting an excellent flavour to weight ratio, sensible spicy oak and a clean fresh mouthfeel. There’s no malolactic, so no creaminess and only moderate lees influence which provides a bit of savoury stuffing (blessed are the makers who don’t turn their Chardonnay into cheese). Clean long finish too. It’s fine and balanced – a wine of      admirable restraint and complexity even at such an early age. Give it another 6 months to settle though.” ABV: 13% Drink: 2009-2013.
92-93 points.

Gary Walsh – The Wine Front – 20th August 2008

“Pleasant wine, with ripe stone fruit and melon flavours, bolstered by enough acidity to provide balance and length.”
Rating 90.

James Halliday – 2010 Australian Wine Companion

“A super rich and fascinating chardonnay that manages to maintain balance and vibrancy. The palate has structure, finesse, creaminess and length, together with a little barrel ferment complexity. Oak shows on the finish, but the intensity of flavour carries it well.”
Highly Recommended.

Winewise Magazine – December 2009

“Coming from 40 year vines, the 2008 Meerea Park Alexander Munro Chardonnay is whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented in 35% new oak with no MLF. It gives a nice vibrancy of tropical, pineapple and guava aromas with some honeydew and a bit of spicy, toasty oak. Touch of oatmeal. Creamy, silken texture. Crisp acid. Rich yet medium body with a modest 13% alcohol. Nice concentration. Long in the finish with some minerality. Just 180 cases. Drink now to 2018. “
92 Points.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW – The Wine Advocate #188 – April 2010

2007

AM-CHAR-2007[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hunter Valley

Background: Alexander Munro was winemaker, Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label. The 2000 vintage was the Trophy winner at the 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show for current vintage Chardonnay.

Fruit Source: The wine is made from fruit harvested off a 40-year-old Chardonnay block on the ‘Casuarina’ Estate vineyard in Pokolbin which shares the same sandy soils as the iconic HVD vineyard.

Fermentation & Maturation: Handpicked fruit was whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented in French oak barriques of which 35% were new. After 6 months maturation and no malolactic fermentation allowed we bottled in August 2007 under screwcap.

Winemakers Comments: 2007 was a very warm vintage that surprisingly produced great Chardonnay fruit. This vintage sees a style change, mainly in that malolactic fermentation was retarded in barrel allowing the retention of as much natural acid as possible.

It has classic Chardonnay fruit characters of white peach and fig with the addition of an underlying citrus freshness. The French oak has imparted some complexity with the wine   showing lovely cashew nut and spicy oak nuances.

Cellaring: Medium  term. 5—8 years.

 

What the experts say:

“Aromas of lemon rind, peach and matchstick with cashew nut and ginger spice oak. On the palate medium to full bodied with intense flavours of peach, grapefruit and lemon rind backed with spicy ginger oak and a little bit of struck match. It has penetrating mouth-watering acidity, a light slightly chalky texture and a little warmth. Finishes long and dry with a tangy preserved lemon aftertaste. There is a fair bit of free sulphur floating about at the moment that needs to settle, but this really is an excellent chardonnay”.
92+ Points.

Gary Walsh—Winorama—September 2007

“This is a prime example of the new style of Hunter chardonnay – fresh, crisp, smoky and boosted with a quick injection of quality oak (it must have only been in oak for a few months). In my books it tastes great. Crisp, lemony, peachy and clean, the finish tangy and refreshing. Excellent. Drink: 2008-2013.

92 points“.

Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front – 4th February 2008

“Impressive Hunter chardonnay; melon and white peach fruit; good line and length, the oak well-balanced and integrated. To 2013.”
Rating 92.

James Halliday – 2009 Wine Companion

2003

AM-CHAR-2003[1]Wine Notes

Background: Alexander Munro is winemaker, Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label.

The 2000 vintage was the Trophy winner at the 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show for current vintage Chardonnays. No 2001 vintage released.

Fruit Source: A single low cropping, old vine Chardonnay vineyard in Pokolbin.

Fermentation & Maturation: The fruit was hand picked and then whole bunch pressed. The free run juice was settled then racked into French oak barriques where natural yeast carried out the fermentation. Malo-lactic fermentation was allowed to occur naturally in all barrels with lees stirring being conducted regularly. After 10 months in oak, the wine was transferred into stainless steel for bottling preparation. This wine was only cold stabilized and minimal fining carried out prior to bottling.

Winemakers Comments: 2003 in the Hunter was drought affected. The resulting fruit was ripe, clean and flavoursome, but yields were down by 50%.

A complex style of Chardonnay showing rich pear-melon fruit supported by subtle lees and oak. The palate has wonderful texture and complexity with a long finish. The acidity of the wine provides the palate with structure and the ability to age over the medium term.

Cellaring:
Medium term

What the experts say:

“Meerea Park “Alexander Munro” Chardonnay 2003 – Hunter Valley – upfront fruit driven typically varietal – ripe white peach as well as classic honeydew melon aromas emanate – fresh and upfront – quite attractive with a creamy soft texture – really good easy drinking – try with turkey – around $25.”

91/100

Paul Ippolito – www.webwombat.com.au – March 2006

2002

AM-CHAR-2002[1]Wine Notes

Background: Alexander Munro is winemaker, Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label.

The 2000 vintage was the Trophy winner at the 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show for current vintage Chardonnays. No 2001 vintage released.

Fruit Source: A single low cropping, old vine Chardonnay vineyard in Pokolbin.

Fermentation & Maturation: The fruit was hand picked and then whole bunch pressed. The free run juice was settled then racked to 70% new Centre of France oak barriques where natural yeast carried out the fermentation. Malo-lactic fermentation was allowed to occur in all barrels with lees stirring being conducted regularly. After 9 months in oak, the wine was cold stabilized and minimal fining carried out prior to bottling.

Winemakers Comments: 2002 in the Hunter was cool and to many perfect conditions which allowed the fruit to ripen slowly and to optimum natural ripeness, while retaining good natural acids.

A restrained style of Chardonnay showing pear/peach fruit supported by yeasty lees and subtle oak. The palate has wonderful texture and complexity with a long finish. The acidity of the wine provides the palate with structure and the ability to age over the medium term.

Cellaring: Medium term

What the experts say

“Hunter chardonnays can be clumsy, oaky and alcoholic. This is none of those.”

Huon Hooke – Top Aussie White – Good Living – 13th April 2004

“Complex-but-buttery, rich but leesy, with tangy, spicy, peachy, toasty fruit fleshing out the palate. Good wine. Gets better given time to rest in the glass. Wild and funky.”

89 points.

Winefront Monthly – Campbell Mattinson – August 2004

2000

AM-CHAR-2000[1]Wine Notes

Background: Alexander Munro is winemaker, Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label.

Fruit Source: A single low cropping, old vine Chardonnay vineyard in Pokolbin.

Winemaking: The fruit was hand picked and then whole bunch pressed. The free run juice was settled then racked to 100% new Centre of France oak barriques where natural yeast carried out the fermentation.

Malo-lactic fermentation was allowed to occur naturally in all barrels with lees stirring being conducted regularly. After 12 months in oak, the wine was transferred into stainless steel for bottling preparation. This wine was only cold stabilized and minimal fining carried out prior to bottling.

Winemakers notes: 2000 in the Hunter was cool and to many perfect conditions which allowed the fruit to ripen slowly and to optimum natural ripeness, while retaining good natural acids.

A complex style of Chardonnay showing rich pear-melon fruit supported by subtle lees and oak. The palate has wonderful texture and complexity with a long finish. The acidity of the wine provides the palate with structure and the ability to age over the medium term.

Awards:
TROPHY – 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show
Best Current Vintage Chardonnay
GOLD – 2000 Hunter Valley Wine Show, class 7

What the experts say:

“This and the Alexander Munro Shiraz are the flagships of Meerea Park, headed by brilliant Hunter winemaker Rhys Eather. The 2000 Alexander Munro is in pleasant contrast to the ‘in-your-face’ Dolly Parton style of many Chardonnay’s.”

John Lewis – Newcastle Herald – September 2000

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