2021 Chardonnay

The cool 2021 vintage brings deliciously fine chardonnay fruit to the fore: grapefruit, green mango, and a little layer of winemaking complexity woven in.

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Winemaker's Notes

Chardonnay is one of the original varieties planted in our vineyard in 1988, and expanded in 1999. It consistently produces wines that combine intensity of flavor with richness and balance. Traditionally made using wild ferments of cloudy juice in oak, the emphasis is on complexity and depth of character, combined with intense fruit and crisp structure.


Much cooler conditions prevailed this season, with good winter rains leading into a mild season that saw vines flourish. There was some disease pressure, but minimal disease resulted from careful management. Harvest started a week or two later than recent years, and was interrupted by three days of rain just after the whites were finished and before any reds were picked, but reds suffered no damage. Yields were very good, probably because we were able to irrigate through the drought last year. Unsurprisingly, the mild summer and ripening conditions have given lighter wines with excellent aroma and colour.


Hand-picked 10 March 2021 at 12.4 Baumé. Only the free-run and lightly-pressed juice was used, with minimal settling, and entirely wild-fermented in French oak barriques (25% new). The wine was stirred on yeast lees for nine months with no malolactic fermentation. Bottled November 2021 under screwcap; 242 dozen made. Alcohol 13.5% by volume. Vegan friendly?: Yes.

Drink now to 2034.

In The Cellar

Our Chardonnay has been under screwcap since 2003, but there is even life left in some of the earlier vintages under cork. 1991-1995 were not tasted this time. Wines tasted from the winery museum. If your cellaring conditions are less than ideal, consider reducing the expected life of the wine. Tasted June 2014.

Vintage Tasting Notes Drink Until Rating
2013 Pale green. Alluring and exotic with tropical fruit, florals and spice. Good fruit weight and balance, hints of aniseed, lovely and clean. 2029 Excellent
2012 (not made)
2011 Pale green straw. Quite subtle, citrus with green herbs and light sulphide complexity. Tight and fresh, with tremendous lemon and grapefruit zip. Racy. 2029 Excellent
2010 Pale green straw. A lurch to the wild side. Loads of barrel ferment complexity, subtle fruit. Lacks the drive and length on the palate of better vintages. 2018 Good
2009 Pale straw-green. Lovely nose of lemon, florals and confectionery. Soft and generous fruit with good weight, but elegant, subtle and with great balance. Relatively primary and unadorned 2024 Excellent
2008 Pale straw-green. A ripe wine from a mild summer: lots of green melon/honeydew fruit, with hints of oak, barrel ferment and wattle blossom-like florals. Tight and youthful palate. 2024 Very good
2007 Light straw-green. Fresh citrus, dried herbs, sage, complex and interesting. Very soft and harmonious, bacony oak in the background. Palate clean, tight and fresh, with snappy lemon zest and grapefruit. 2026 Outstanding
2006 Straw-yellow. Quite mature nose of honeyed stonefruit and caramel oak. Soft and generous with sweet fruit. Very enjoyable and harmonious. Soon Very good
2005 Light straw. Florals, lemon essence, confectionery, with peaty/bacony oak. Sherbetty-fresh and lemony flavours with rich and smooth caramelly development, savoury notes. Soft and fine with a long finish and clean acid. 2021 Excellent
2004 Straw-yellow. Honey, florals, lemony fruit and hints of pastry. Light and fresh with lovely balance, it shows the softer, sweeter fruit of a ripe year. 2019 Excellent
2003 Deep straw-yellow. Quite fresh with citrus, dried grass, sandalwood and mint. The palate has fresh citrussy fruit with hints of lanolin, musk and grapefruit. Tight and fresh. 2019 Excellent
2002 Light gold. Complex and appealing, quite fresh. Lemon and melon fruit with jasmine, barrel ferment and some peaty oak. Slightly lean and quite elegant. Now Very good
2001 Golden. Mature and buttery, rich and appealing. Soft, silky, lingering and full. Plenty of weight and richness but with enough finesse, enjoyable. Now Good
2000 Golden. Developed stonefruit, ripe peach, honey and toast. Some suplphide complexity. Now Good
1999 (Not commercially released, frost year). Golden. Oak, caramel and vestiges of citrussy fruit. Still very pleasant, though past its best, depending on bottle. Past Good
1997 Amber. Caramel-molasses, nutty. Pleasant palate but past its best and possibly not a good bottle. Past
1996 Golden. Still has melon fruit and slightly corky oak. Rich, nutty, soft palate, still tight with bright acid and very enjoyable. Past Very Good