Battle at the top four chardonnay
AN analysis of the national and international point scores of Australia’s finest chardonnays illustrates the four key producers are significantly ahead of their peers.
Within this framework the various reviewers have very different rankings, based on their differing palate profile and style preferences.
The chardonnays that have stood out since 2008 are the Giaconda and the Penfolds Yattarna from the east and the Cullen and the Cullen Legacy Series and the Leeuwin Estate Art Series chardonnays from WA.
There are many examples of the world’s most famous wine critics having opposing views and ratings on the same producer’s wines and vintages; we face the same situation.
In Australia, since 2008, James Halliday has rated six chardonnays from these four producers at 98 points or above; Cullen 2012, Giaconda 2011 and 2012, and his preferred Leeuwin Estate 2011, 2012 and 2013 vintages.
The American Wine Spectator also highlights Leeuwin Estate’s Art Series with the 2009, 2011 and 2013 vintages at an unmatched 96 points.
Jancis Robinson in the UK plays a straight bat and her maximum 17.5 points goes multiple times each to these four wineries since 2008.
Huon Hooke from The Real Review also ranks Leeuwin most highly, with the 2009, 2011 and 2013 at 97 points, matched only by the 2012 Penfolds Yattarna and the 2014 Cullen ‘Legacy Series’ Moon Opposite Saturn Harvest.
Cullen (six) and Leeuwin Estate (four) take 10 of the 15 chardonnay scores at 95 points or above on this site.
The world’s most influential wine website, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, prefers Victoria’s high-country Giaconda with the 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013 vintages at 97 points or above, matched only by the 2007 Cullen Kevin John amongst Aussie chardonnays.