What to drink this week

Aus­tralian Chardon­nay

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

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.

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