Bronze Medal: 2010 Long Beach Grand Cru; Flavors of peach and citrus are underlined with a creamy texture.
Margaret River is a small region about 3 hours' drive south of Perth in Western Australia. This region consistently produces some of the best Chardonnay in the world. Varietal intensity is one of the hallmarks of Margaret River Chardonnay, and so it is with this wine. The initial flavors of peach and citrus are underlined with French oak. Portions of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation, giving it a creamy texture with some crisp acidity.
Margaret River, with its stunning coastline and world-class wineries, is one of Australia's most inspiring wine regions. Thanks to its maritime-influenced climate, Chardonnay as well as red and white Bordeaux-style blends are particularly successful. The work of the Italians was supported by science when in the 1960s agronomist Dr. John Gladstones and viticulturist Professor Harold Olmo recommended the region for viticulture, citing its climate and soil as being comparable to that of Burgundy. An untiring group acted upon Gladstones' advice and planted vinesï¿½names such as Vasse Felix, Cullens, Moss Wood, and Chateau Xanadu were born.
The region runs along the coast from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin in the south. The Margaret River flows east to west through its center, and the Blackwood River flows southwest to Augusta. The region features a ridge running from cape to cape. The land is undulating with a maximum elevation of 90 meters. The soils are gravelly, sandy loams. The region is large and varied, being divided into six sub-regions. The climate is warm maritime with cooling breezes (and sometimes strong winds) off the Indian Ocean. Most rain falls in autumn and winter. Harvest time: February to mid-April.
Flavors: Citrus, Peach
Individually selected vineyards are monitored for optimum maturity by spending hours tasting and assessing the grapes. Once deemed ripe, the grapes are machine picked in the cool of the night; then, the juice is settled for 2 days before racking clean to fermentation. A little bit of the natural grape solids is added back to provide some complexity. When fermentation is about half complete, 40% of the juice is transferred to French oak barrels to finish while the remainder completes fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The tank component is "cleaned up" and kept on fine lees while the barrel wine receives a weekly "battonage," which stirs the yeast through the wine to give a fuller profile and keep the wine very reductive. After 3 months in oak, the blend is reassembled and the wine remains on light lees until bottling.