d'Arenberg Lucky Lizard Chardonnay 2004
Chardonnay from South Australia, Australia
Since 1912 the Osborn family has tended the 19th century vineyards at their d'Arenberg winery, located in South Australia, where the family often procures top quality fruit from the cool climate Adelaide Hills region, which has become one of Australia's finest Chardonnay districts. During the summer months, native Bearded Dragon Lizards sun themselves on the vineyard posts and watch out for potential prey. Occasionally during harvest, these lizards are dislodged and find their way into a load of grapes headed for the winery. Lucky for these lizards, d'Arenberg uses a very gentle Demoisy crusher, which allows these lizards to pass through the ordeal slightly shaken, yet unharmed. The gentleness of the crusher also plays an important role in retaining the delicate fruit flavors.
After excellent winter rains and then a warm wet spring, the vineyards were set for a good start to vintage. Flowering was consistent, and in general crop loads were higher than normal. McLaren Vale experienced the coldest January for 12 years followed by a warm February which provided perfect ripening conditions and the result was fruit of outstanding character, concentration and excellent natural acidity. The success of this wine is put down to the evenness of the ripening period leading up to picking in the early autumn and extremely protective handling in the winery to preserve the wonderful fruit characters.
The nose is immediately inviting with volumes of pear, pineapple, tropical fruits, guava, hints of peach, green melon, citrus and very fine sweet toasted oaks. Medium to full in style with the level of ripeness in perfect balance with the elevated acidity and the characteristic cool climate flowery Granny Smith apples that linger to the end with fine oak spices, and citric passionfruit character. Probably the best Lucky Lizard yet.
One of the undisputed kings of Australian Shiraz and Rhone varietals, d'Arenberg has managed to turn individuality into an art form by doing a whole lot of little things differently. The original vineyards were established by Joseph Osborn in 1912 in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia. A century on, the estate has grown to 345 acres, and the mantle now rests with fourth-generation winemaker, Chester Osborn. By maintaining a focus on traditional winemaking and nurturing their old-vine material, the Osborn clan has successfully established themselves as one of the country's leading producers of concentrated wines that are full of character. View all d'Arenberg WinesLike the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.