Suilven Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2016
Having thrown off its image as the sleepy backwater capital of South Australia, Adelaide is now one of the "hot" cities of the world to visit. Long the home to Australia's wine industry, Adelaide is now a melting pot of great wine, gorgeous produce and vibrant culture. And where do the cool cats go to make wine? - the Hills of course. This established region, once more famous for apple and pear growing, is now the heart of the alternative wine movement. Outstanding fruit quality and a more free-thinking approach to winemaking characterise the Hills and where better to produce our Suilven Chardonnay?
Continuing the theme of abnormal seasons, 2016 was characterised by how it ended - a very quick, condensed harvest where Adelaide Hills fruit reached maturity earlier than regions that would normally be harvested first. Solid fruit set led to a healthy crop load wth even bunches that ripened gradually through February's perfect conditions. Looking to retain natural acidity and energy in the wine, we hand-picked from a single Lenswood vineyard with fruit reaching us in prime condition.
With such perfect raw materials, our only job was not to undo all nature's good work. Fruit, hand-picked in the cool of the morning, was transferred straight to press before a very slight settling of juice which retained a high solids content. A combination of new French oak hogsheads and concrete eggs were filled and we waited for the natural fermentation to begin - which it did at quite a rate! The finished wine was held in barrel and egg, with regular battonage, for 10 months before bottling with only a very light fining and filtration.