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”.
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.
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.”
James Halliday – 2009 Wine Companion