August 8, 2018
Dear wine friends
By now you’ve got a good idea of our approach to growing and making wine. We’ve talked about our focus on farming and our philosophy of stripping the process of winemaking back to the bare essentials, striving for purity and showing place.
So with the first of our 2017 vintage ready to release, it’s time to offer up the fruits of our labour so you can decide for yourselves if you think our approach works.
Introducing The Wine Farm Chardonnay 2017.
Chardonnay is one of the greatest grapes in the world. Certainly in our opinion one of the very best for showing terroir no matter where in the world it’s planted. Warm climate or cool, wet or dry it always has plenty to say about its place. And it seems that, like us, Chardonnay is extremely happy putting down roots in South Gippsland.
We love drinking Chardonnay from Chablis, Pouilly-Fuisse, Macon or the Jura. Wines that are linear and a little steely (any obvious oak quickly turns us off) with a touch of mid palate flesh. So this is the style we strive for in the Chardonnay we make, while allowing it to express its unique South Gippsland-ness.
We make it in the same way we make all of our whites. (If you’re interested in the details you can read more here.) In a nutshell, we pick the grapes by hand when the berries are at their peak – beautifully ripe and full of flavour without having lost any of their crunch and with acids nice and high. Even at this stage the fruit must taste delicious and feel good in your mouth, and our pickers know well that if they wouldn’t eat it, it doesn’t go in the crate. From that point on everything we do is about maintaining the purity and vitality of the fruit. Working gently (no pumping, no additions, no fining or filtering), working clean and allowing the natural yeasts to do what they do best – build texture and mouthfeel.
We keep the winemaking consistent across all varieties and from year to year so that the differences we see in the wines from one vintage to the next are an expression of the season and the soil rather than the trickeries of the cellar.
And 2017 was our third of three very different ripening seasons in South Gippsland, sitting somewhere between the warm and dry 2016 and our blessedly cool and moderate first vintage.
The acidity across our wines from 2017 is delicate but with a solid structure giving a balanced drive to the palate. The Chardonnay is all white stone fruit and a touch of melon on the nose with not a hint of oak as none was used. The palate is a real mix of our previous two vintages – some of the lusciousness from the sun in the latter, a good dose of the former’s steely minerality. We think this is our best effort yet so plan to hold back a little more than usual as library stock. We’re excited to see how this wine will mature in the bottle and if stored with care the 2017 Chardonnay should still be drinking well 15 years from now.
We inherited eight varieties on The Wine Farm and four vintages in we can clearly see which are the happiest to be here. The 600 vines of Chardonnay are without a doubt our best performers both in terms of growth on the vine and fermentation in the cellar – two sure signs they love where they live. So far, even in the driest years they thrive with not a yellow leaf to be seen come harvest time while others around them start to show stress. In fact we’re so happy with them we’ve decided to do some grafting elsewhere in the vineyard later this year to bolster our Chardonnay crop.
But for now the juice of 600 vines is all we have to offer so if you’re keen to see how Chardonnay expresses itself in our little corner of Victoria email email@example.com
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