Murdoch Hill Chardonnay
This wine is Michael Downer's first step on the Chardonnay rung, sourced from premium vineyards in the Lobethal district, Oakbank and the Piccadilly Valley of the Adelaide Hills. Each small parcel is chosen to provide unique, yet complementary, elements with the idea of bottling a sum that is greater than its parts. The fruit was hand-picked then whole-bunch pressed for a natural ferment in a mix of barriques, puncheons and foudre (15% new) and left on lees to mature for 10 months.
Pete Schell's Papillon was one of the first of the mod-Barossa wines to show that ripeness and depth of flavour needn't come at the expense of freshness and vineyard clarity. All these years later it remains at the very top of its game. If anything, it has never been in better form. Papillon is crafted from a range of old vine, dry grown Grenache (78%) and Cinsault (22%) vineyards, located in the east and far northern reaches of the Barossa Valley.
The Papillon sports a deliciously crunchy texture, cleansing acidity, savoury grip, and is somehow perfectly integrated with the wine's generous fruit giving a delicious sense of balance. As always, the wine is naturally fermented with a portion of whole bunches (40% in this case for heightened fragrance and more freshness) and pulled out of large format old wood after five months with the same logic.
This is Pete Schell's higher-toned, more linear, red fruited and floral expression of the Barossa, a yin to BÍ_te Noir's yang. To this end, Schell sources from "...generally higher, cooler sites, where earlier harvesting gives wines with bright fruit expression and a textural freshness". The wine-naturally fermented with around 40% whole clusters in a mix of stainless steel, wood and concrete-also sees a shorter maturation than the Esprit and BÍ_te Noir, et al-around eight months on lees prior to bottling without filtration.
The first three releases averaged over 95 Halliday points, and the new release is comfortably at the same level, with beautifully sculpted and racy fruit, along with a lifted Rose hip notes and some inky depths on the driven finish. Gets more and more perfumed and lively with air: it's another terrific effort from one of Australia's most gifted wine people.
Bondar's inaugural Nero release comes from a young block, on the rocky clays of the Willunga foothills, grafted on Cabernet Sauvignon just two years prior. For this reason, winemaker Andre Bondar "wanted to keep it as pure as possible" and, as such, the winemaking was intentionally straightforward. All fruit was de-stemmed before fermenting on skins for 10 days, then pressed to old oak for six months. To keep everything fresh and vibrant, the wine was bottled soon after. Soft tannin and seductive raspberry aromatics set the tone, while a hit of spice brings a layer of moreish complexity. "It's a wine that should be enjoyed in its youthful splendour."
Murdoch Hill Pinot Noir
The MH's Pinot Noir is predominantly sourced from 20-plus-year-old vines in the Piccadilly Valley with a small and similarly aged parcel from Woodside. Twenty-five per cent whole bunches were included in the wild ferments-all of which took place in small-batch, open fermenters-before maturation in French oak barriques, puncheons and foudre (15% new) for 10 months. Early flavour-ripening at low baume and incredible acidity light up this 2019 with a racier, crunchier, red-fruited feel than last year's release.
Voyager | The Project Releases Sparkling
100% Chenin Blanc. Made in the traditional method, Voyager Estate's sparkling wine has come with only one draw back. We couldn't get enough of it. With that hurdle now overcome, we're delighted to offer the latest vintage that was disgorged last November. Perhaps surprisingly given this producers' enviable reputation with Chardonnay, it is crafted entirely from Chenin Blanc.