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The Wine Front – Adelaide Hills chardonnay grown at 400 metres. Fermented wild. Matured in French oak, 20% new, for nine months prior to bottling. Some malo, some not. It’s light-ish in some ways but it’s ever-so-attractive. Lemon, nectarine and pear flavours float across the tongue, the texture just-so, the acidity neatly contained within the fruit and yet offering plenty of refreshment. It looks bright in the glass and feels bright in the mouth. It’s still building, still findings its way in the world, but for length, balance and mouthfeel it has it going on. 92 points, Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au
About This Wine
Andre Bondar worked with Nepenthe for seven vintages, so when it came to finding a quality source for Chardonnay in the Adelaide Hills, he knew exactly what he was after. Sourced from a single vineyard in Echunga (450 metres above sea level), the fruit was hand-picked and lightly pressed straight to barrel without sulphur. The juice was then allowed to ferment naturally before being matured in barrel (about 20% new) for nine months. A portion of the barrels were allowed to go through malolactic fermentation, others not - so while it’s a serious glass of Chardonnay in terms of depth, complexity and finesse, it maintains fabulous line, with focus and clarity and freshness.
The Adelaide Hills is one of the largest geographical wine regions in Australia, and amongst the most diverse in terms of climate, soil and topography. Because of this, many different varietals are planted here with the most dominant being Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. It is generally thought of as a cooler region, especially when compared to neighbouring Barossa to the north and Mclaren vale and Langhorne Creek to the south.
NZ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has been popular in Australia for a while now, but Adelaide hills Sauvignon Blanc (the most planted grape in the region) could be considered the Aussie Savvy Blanc. From www.adelaidehillswine.com.au about their Sauvignon Blanc: “Wines that are textured, edgy, vibrant and dry with exceptional fruit definition, length and crispness that marry superbly with summer seafood.”
You can also find some cool climate shiraz from the Adelaide hills, defying the more common big bold style that is usually seen in Australian Shiraz.