Monday 10 February 2014


REVERTING to what Australian Chardonnays are really
all about: refinement, elegance and lovely fruit balance. 


David Ellis

IT was way back in 1832 that Chardonnay grapes were first planted in Australia by James Busby at both the fledgling Sydney Botanical Gardens and at his own Kirkton estate in the Hunter Valley, with canes he brought in from France.

While the initial wine was instantly acceptable, it was 120 years later in the 1950s that sales of Chardonnay began to peak, and in the 1980s and '90s went absolutely gang-busters – until winemakers' propensity then to chuck oak into their barrels by the shovel-full, saw Chardonnay become so big, fat and oaky that sales suddenly crashed, and softer and less-aggressive Sauvignon Blanc took-over as our white of first choice.

Today Chardonnay is enjoying a well-deserved comeback, due to local offerings reverting to being once again more refined, elegant and well-balanced, and without all that wood.

One enticing example worth trying is from Western Australia's Margaret River, a Voyager Estate 2010 that displays vibrant Chardonnay citrus fruit flavours (in the lime, lemon and grapefruit spectrum,) with a nice savoury element, and a clean flinty finish.

BOLTER: a red that'll have you
sitting up and really taking notice.
If you want to impress at that next special dinner party, at $45 this would be a perfect taste-match on the table with seared Red Emperor and braised fennel.

ONE TO NOTE: GALLOPING into the hearts of buy-now-drink-now red wine drinkers is Rymill's The Yearling Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, the original wine in The Yearling stable and the latest release, the 2012, an absolute cracker.

The product of a perfect vintage and the skilled hand of Rymill's Senior Winemaker, Sandrine Gimon this is one that's all about nice upfront blackcurrant and cherry fruit flavours, a fresh sweetness, and hints of chocolate and mint.

Soft and juicy, yet lively enough to have you and friends really taking notice, do as Sandrine suggests and enjoy with roast rib-eye and root vegetables. Pay $15.95.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide in main blog.

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