Monday 4 March 2013



David Ellis

CHARDONNAY backbone makes for
this great party-room celebratory wine.
IF you've celebrations in mind, a Chardonnay-based bubbly that's hard to look past is Chandon's 2009 Blanc de Blancs from Victoria's cool climate Yarra Valley, King Valley and Macedon.

A year that most remember for Victoria's tragic bushfires, 2009 was also a standout one for the State's cool-climate Chardonnays: in this case the elevated Upper Yarra Valley providing fruit with lovely citrus flavours and crisp acidity, and the Yarra Floor, King Valley and Macedon fuller nectarine and peach characters and delightful texture.

Unusually warm conditions in early February encouraged rapid ripening of fruit in all four areas, with Chandon's vineyards being picked during the coolest parts of the day for maximum quality and freshness of the fruit.

Each site's grapes were pressed and fermented separately to capture their individual parcels' own unique characteristics, and the resultant diverse cuvees selected for concentrated varietal flavour, balanced structure and palate length.

Pay $39.95 to enjoy with those next celebrations and a diversity of party-room treats.

INTERESTING Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend to
enjoy with grilled porterhouse steak and garlic mash.

ALTHOUGH it was founded only in 1998, Ferngrove in Western Australia's Frankland River region, 360km south of Perth and some 90km in from the coast, has gained an enviable reputation for a wide range of exceptional wines covering a broad spectrum of varietals and blends.

One of those blends is an interesting 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot from the 2010 vintage and bottled under the company's Symbols label, a wine that's got bounce-from-the-glass blackberry and red plum flavours and nicely balancing vanilla oak and long grainy tannins.

At $14.99 it's great buying to enjoy now with grilled porterhouse steak and garlic mash, or to invest in a few for the cellar to develop even further over the next 5 to 8 years.


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