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Dalrymple Cave Block Chardonnay 2012
Pair with freshly shucked oysters.
After working for some of the most diverse and exciting wine regions around the world, Peter Caldwell has returned to his roots. Born in country New South Wales and raised on a farm in Tasmania, Peter fell in love with the wine industry while working with Tasmanian wine pioneer Graham Wiltshire at Heemskerk. In fact, the young Caldwell peppered his mentor with so many questions that it was Wiltshire who suggested Peter move to South Australia and study winemaking at Roseworthy Agricultural College.
Following his studies Peter consolidated his knowledge by working for wineries in Burgundy, Bordeaux, California and New Zealand, before returning to Tasmania to take up a position as winemaker/viticulturist with Josef Chromy Wines. Passionate about the continued potential of the Australian wine industry, Peter now brings his experience to Dalrymple and the intricacies and delicacies of Pinot Noir.
Directly south of the city of Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula wine region, the cool-climate island of Tasmania has earned an honorable reputation as the country’s finest producer of sparkling wine. Naturally the region also excels in top quality still wines from Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, all distinguished because of a high natural acidity. Most of the Tasmania vineyards cluster around the eastern side of the island from north to south.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.