2018 Leeuwin Estate “Prelude” Chardonnay
Margaret River, Western Australia 13.5% RRP $35
Chardonnay thrives throughout Australia. But for consistent quality, Margaret River leads the Yarra Valley, with many surprises from other areas (Adelaide Hills, Tasmania etc) each vintage.
Thankfully, Australia has progressed past the “Dolly Parton” phase of over-oaked, overripe, sunshine-drenched Chardonnays. However, an over-reaction created many austere examples – artful but joyless wines lacking drinkability. While the Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Chardonnay typically features in annual best wine lists, its junior sibling is conveniently affordable. A pale straw colour, it showcases ripe peach plus cashew, nougat and spices. This full-flavoured wine combines richness with grace, full of fresh caresses and nuance – comfort on a budget. The “ABC” (anything but Chardonnay) challenge is defeated.
Conclusion – this modern, stylish chardonnay over-delivers. Most white fish (roasted, or pan-fried), or white meat will pleasurably match. Easy cellarable for a few years, this wine conquers the “one glass is enough” quest, with the charms to satisfy throughout a meal.
Lucy M. Picadilly Valley Chardonnay,
Basket Range (Adelaide Hills) SA, 11.5% RRP $41
I was feeling somewhat adventurous for a Tuesday night and decided to leave the wine selecting to the very helpful fellow at Mr. West in Footscray. He landed on this little number which intrigued then and continues to, long after my final glass. Lucy M is becoming a household name in the wine world, which really says something, given the nichè market this wine sits in.
What market is this, you might ask? “Vin Nature” as it is aptly put on the bottle. Nothing but grapes. Minimal intervention, unfined, unfiltered, vegan, organic and zero sulphur added. This style of winemaking just keeps growing in popularity. Soon the word ‘nichè’ may not even apply. So what of the actual wine? Light bodied and zesty from go to woah.
A wonderful salad of summer fruits from granny smith apples, pink grapefruit, lemonade and pineapple squash all dance over the palate with an ever so subtle spritzy mouthfeel. Minerally and dry on the finish and a nod to chablis with a prominent ‘oyster shell’ quality that lingers. This has spring time written all over it!
Conclusion: Pair with Tex Mex style fajitas with crumbed schnitzel, lightly fried veges, guacamole, mango salsa and plenty of jalapeños.