Coldstream Hills Reserve Chardonnay, Yarra Valley
Produced only in years where the quality is deemed to be exceptional, this wine is made from a selection of low yielding and mature vineyards. In addition to the twenty-year-old House and G Blocks, the Coldstream Hills Briarston Vineyard provides an outstanding resource of Bernard clone (French clone) Chardonnay, which adds elegance and length to the wine. Gentle handling practices, including whole bunch pressing, are carried out, with each batch undergoing barrel fermentation in new and seasoned French oak. Wines remain on yeast lees post fermentation for approximately ten months until blending. In order to maintain natural acidity, malolactic fermentation is not encouraged.
Stylistically, the wine displays attractive cool climate fruit characters of stone fruit and citrus. Oak plays an important role but does not dominate. Secondary characters of barrel fermentation and minerality add further layers of complexity to the wine. The wine's structure and length will reward careful cellaring.
Perhaps the finest of the suite, as much as I adore the Rising. This melds the intensity of fruit, intoxicating detail and a shimmering veneer of generosity on the nose that transforms, paradoxically, as a juicy pungency across the palate. Tight and unyielding ultimately, yet so much extract and precision, auguring well for a very bright future. Think freshly lain tatami straw, stone fruit pith and raw almond slivers bound to a frame of cedar oak. A truly exceptional wine in the making.
96 points, Ned Goodwin MW.
Yarra ValleyThe Yarra Valley was first planted by the Ryrie brothers who explored a way through the Snowy Mountains to the Yarra Valley, planting grapes in 1838 just three years after the foundation of Melbourne. A wine industry (developed by Swiss Settlers particularly Hubert de Castella and Baron Guillaume de Pury in the 1850s) thrived during the gold rush era and heyday of the 19th century. However, the end of the gold rush brought the wine industry into decline and it was not until the 1970’s that the modern wine industry started up again. The region is probably Australia’s best-known cool-climate area, yet it is really a patchwork of meso-climates. This varied topography creates an incredible set of variables. Vineyards are planted on elevations of 50 to 400m on varying aspects and management programmes. The more exposed sites are subject to severe spring frosts and winds. Overall, the area experiences a relatively high rainfall pattern and is known for its temperature extremes during ripening. Site selection is crucial, with the best vineyards often located where the original vines were once planted, generally on sandy clay loams and gravels. The Yarra Valley is well known for high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Blends with Shiraz increasingly garnering attention. Sparkling wine production is also extremely important, with many of Australia’s finest examples produced in the region.