2017 Streicker Ironstone Block Old Vine 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 the Ironstone Chardonnay is hand-picked from the Ironstone Vineyard in the heart of Wilyabrup. 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 40% new, 30% 2nd fill and 30% 3rd fill French oak barriques. 66% of the barrels are sulphured pre-malolactic fermentation, in order to further preserve fresh fruit aromatics and pure acidity. The other 33% are allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation, developing both richer, bolder aromatics and textural elements. It is then aged in oak for 9 months and battonaged every two weeks to develop texture and additional palate complexity, after which the wine is removed from barrel, clarified and bottled.
A complex and opulent wine with bold aromas of peaches, creamy French oak, cinnamon apple and nutmeg, hints of braised nuts and jasmine. The palate displays a coasting nectarine acidity and stone fruit flavours on the entry. It gently descends into spicy oak tones layered atop a granatic structure and finishes with dried pear and brioche as an afterthought.
New release, not yet entered.
This is a fresh drink now style, but can be aged for up to 10 years for added complexity.