I'm slightly concerned that my Chardonnay trail is becoming dominated by Australia. Must do something about that. Well, after mentioning Steve Webber a couple of posts below, I figured it would only be polite to include one of his wines. It's the De Bortoli Yarra Valley Chardonnay. Whole bunch pressing (so this was hand picked fruit), barrel fermentation and lees stirring have been employed to good effect. But the crucial bit is what is done in the vineyard. Many of the Chardonnays I've been trying have been at 14 or 14.5% alcohol. This one is a rather Burgundian 13%, and has good natural acidity.
De Bortoli Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2004 Yarra Valley, Australia
Quite a tight, subtly reductive mineralic nose with notes of smoke and flint, with citrussy fruit complemented by toasty richness. The palate has nice freshness and complex minerally fruit. This is joined by hints of toast, vanilla and straw. A restrained, intriguing style: it's not quite like Burgundy, but the intention here has clearly been to aim at elegance and refinement rather than power. Could age well for a few years, too. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£12.99 Waitrose, Oddbins)