What to drink this week
I must admit that I haven’t written much about Australian Chardonnay in this column. Appearing almost from nowhere, the style rocketed in popularity and was ubiquitous in the UK by the late 1980s. Then, we started to suffer from fatigue—the relentless ripeness and the overdone oak became too much of a good thing and left us yearning for something fresher, clearer and more stonily precise.
The 1980s staple is back, but with a newfound restraint and delicacy, reveals Harry Eyres
Why you should be drinking it
The big, blowsy, oaky style of Aussie Chardonnay does seem dated, but the best vintners have long been seeking greater restraint and delicacy. This is partly a matter of seeking out cooler, higher vineyards in places such as Tasmania (where Andrew Pirie, previously of Piper’s Brook and now of Apogee, makes Chardonnays of great finesse) and the Piccadilly Hills near Adelaide, home of Brian Croser of Petaluma. There is also a more nuanced approach to oak.
What to drink
The move towards restraint initiated by Mr Pirie and Mr Croser is reaping dividends across the whole industry. Hill-smith Estate Chardonnay 2015 Eden Valley (£10; www.waitrose. com) is ripe and pineappley, but also has excellent acidity and some finesse. Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2015 (below, £15.99; www.majestic. co.uk) is a beautiful greenish-gold colour and has fresh acidity and an almost Puligny-montrachetesque refinement. Two topend Aussie Chardonnays to match premier cru white Burgundy are Ten Minutes by Tractor Estate Chardonnay 2014 (£38; www.majestic. co.uk), which is tremendously long, complex and interesting, and Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 (£34.50; www.htfwines.co.uk), which shows gorgeous subtle toastiness, great length and intensity.