Bloodwood Orange Chardonnay 2009 $22–$25
Toolangi Yarra Valley Reserve Chardonnay 2006 $70–$75
Meet the yin and yang of cool-grown chardonnay – one almost unmarked by winemaker artifice; the other laden with it. The yin is Stephen and Rhoda Doyle’s Bloodwood 2009 – an extraordinarily intense, high-acid, taut, super fine chardonnay, fermented in steel vats, with only a passing (and undetectable) nod to oak. The yang is the equally intense Toolangi chardonnay – with the whole winemaker toolbox thrown at it by Rick Kinzbrunner: wild-yeast fermentation in oak, full malolactic fermentation and prolonged oak maturation. They’re striking wines indeed. But we didn’t finish either. We’d have like more artifice in Bloodwood and less in Toolangi — yin and yang in the one bottle.
Bourgogne Pinot Noir (Maison Champy) 2008 $17.49–$24.99
Punt Road Yarra Valley Napoleone Vineyards Pinot Noir 2008 $25–$28
The Meurgey family’s profound influence on wine quality shows in Maison Champy’s lovely, entry-level Bourgogne. It’s screwcap sealed, clean, bright and a world removed from the feeble, grubby Burgundy’s passed off on unsuspecting drinkers for so long. It’s light bodied and finely structured, with fresh, slightly stalky varietal aroma and flavour and lightly acidic dry finish. Imported by Coles Liquor, owners of Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice. Punt Road’s pinot noir, from the Napoleone family’s vineyards, offers a more robust Australian expression of the variety – notably fuller, rounder and more tannic, but still the real pinot experience.
Cotes-du-Rhone L’Enclave des Papes 2008 $10.49–$14.99
Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale (Ruffino) $36–$40
These are imported by the Coles Liquor Group – Cotes-du-Rhone available in Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice; the Chianti Classico only at Vintage Cellars. Like the Champy Bourgogne reviewed above, the screwcap sealed Cotes-du-Rhone shows the bright, modern face of French winemaking — influenced by international competition and retailers like Coles insisting on screw caps and clean wine. It’s made predominantly from grenache and is therefore of medium colour and body with an attractive, dry, savouriness – a contrast to the sweet fruited Australian versions. Riserva Ducale is as good as Chianti gets – powerful and tannic but elegant, with a core of sweet ripe fruit.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010