2018 Clairault Margaret River Chardonnay
After an unseasonable dry early Winter, late rains in August and September came to the rescue. Budburst commenced in early August and continued until late September. Significant rain events persisted through to mid-October, with conditions fining up through the flowering period enabling successful flowering and fruit set. Vine growth was excellent and excess vigour issues were dealt with by employing shoot thinning and vine de-legging practices, in a successful attempt to deter regrowth and crowding of fruit zone areas. Harvest began on the 27th January, in line with the earliest picking dates on record, trailing out until completion on the 13th April.
The fruit for our Chardonnay is harvested and pressed as both whole cluster and cold crushed fruit, in order to sculpt wines boasting great length, texture and sophistication, as well as density of fruit and a bold complex palate. 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 roughly 40% new, 30% 2nd fill and 30% 3rd fill French oak barriques. A portion of wine is allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation, to broaden the palate and add additional complexity to both the aromatics and the texture of the wine. The rest 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, after which the wine is removed from barrel, clarified and bottled.
The aromas of this chardonnay are fresh and vibrant, consisting of white pear, freshly cut peaches, braised nuts and lime zest. Unbridled white fruits, jasmine flower and brioche are laced through the palate entry of viscous natural acidity and dense stone fruit flavours. Pure white fruit tannin and subtle tones of creamy French oak lend weight and balance to an otherwise taunt palate. A primary and quenching finish of minerality and persistence.
91/100 - James Halliday Wine Companion
91/100 - Ray Jordan WA Wine Guide
Silver - James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge
Up to 8 years, however we enjoy it for freshness now.