2017 Clairault Estate Chardonnay
The nature of the 2016 to 2017 vintage is reminiscent of the 2009 growing season, because the amount of accumulated warmth up until early new year was remarkably similar. January temperatures were similar to historical data for the area, in contrast, February and March were a fraction cooler. Those who risked all by waiting for the Indian Summer were rewarded with tannin ripeness and the retention of the most beautiful fruit perfumes at relatively low sugar levels. The 2017 vintage highlighted the importance of best practice vineyard management, focusing on the basics of open and well solarised canopies, with balanced crop loads, so that the fruit could ripen at a reasonable pace.
The fruit for our Estate Chardonnay is selected from our best blocks of fruit and hand-picked. The fruit is chilled and whole-cluster pressed to retain freshness and cultivate texture and structure. The juice is settled cold and racked after 2 days, harvesting only the lightest and most delicate grape solids to further aid in textural and aromatic development. The juice is barrel fermented in a combination of old and new French oak barriques. The wine is sulphured pre-malolactic fermentation, in order to further preserve fresh fruit aromatics and pure acidity. It is then aged in oak for 9 months and battonaged every two weeks to develop texture and additional palate complexity before bottling.
A pale green chardonnay with aromas of white peach flesh and mother of pearl. Lightly toasted cashews hit the nose, as do hints of wet granite and flint. The palate has a soft entry of jasmine flower, pear and citrus blossum flecked with pristine acidity and slight honeyed notes. Fine textures and pithy acidity at its core, finishing with yet more blossums, stone fruit and wet slate tones.
95 Points - 2020 Halliday Wine Companion
This is a fresh drink now style, but can be aged for up to 10 years for added complexity.