Fowles Wine Farm to Table Chardonnay 2016
Matches beautifully with free-range farm chicken coq au vin.
Fowles Wine vineyards and winery are located in the high altitude, cool climate region of the Strathbogie Ranges in Victoria, Australia. Led by Matt Fowles, a former lawyer who swapped the vitriol for the vineyard, Fowles Wine craft some of Australia’s finest cool climate wines, winning many of the world’s most prestigious wine medals and trophies. The Strathbogie Ranges is approximately 80 miles north east of Melbourne, and is a region of incredible natural beauty. Set in the foothills of Australia’s Great Dividing Range, the region is characterised by giant granite boulders that are 440 million years old. The family’s two vineyards - Upton Run and Billi’s - rest upon the free draining, granite soil from these decomposing boulders. The nutrient poor soil is ideal for viticulture; forcing the vines to put their energy into growing high-quality grapes. The vineyards are also perched on a rolling plateau at the top of the Ranges – giving each block unique aspects and micro climates which ensures each bottle of Fowles’ Wine is complex and distinctive. The high altitude of the area, with elevations up to 600 metres, granitic soils and cool climate all combine to produce elegant yet intense wines. The Fowles’ rich family history of vignerons, hunters and farmers is embedded in the winemaking philosophy. These pillars guide the winemaking team in producing three distinct styles of wine including: wines that reflect Strathbogie provenance and capture the granite terroir of the region, texturally fine wines that pair with the flavours of wild produce, and intensely aromatic wines that are crafted to complement the soft textures of farm raised meats. Theses wines represent the best of the next generation from Australia.
Nestled into the tip of its southeastern coastline, Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state, second most populous and third largest wine producer. Victoria includes the cool regions of Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Geelong, made famous mainly by impressive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The more inland Heathcote and Bendigo lead the way for complex and textured, full-bodied reds. Rutherglen’s fortified wines compete among the best on the planet.
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.