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Henschke Croft Chardonnay 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The Adelaide Zone refers to the super zone in South Australia containing the Mount Lofty Ranges Zone (Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains and Clare Valley), Fleurieu Zone (Currency Creek, Kangaroo Island, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, and Southern Fleurieu) and Barossa Zone (Barossa Valley and Eden Valley).
The Adelaide Hills region is distinguished and beautiful, offering a cool respite in the summer for Adelaide city dwellers. With vineyards planted fairly high in elevation at 1,500 to 1,800 feet, it is known for its particularly fine, citrus-driven Sauvignon blanc.
However, Piccadilly Valley, the part of Adelaide Hills closest to the city, was first staked out by a grower named Brian Croser, in the 1970s for a cool spot to grow Chardonnay, then uncommon in Australia. Today a good amount of the Chardonnay goes to winemakers outsdie of the region for blends and not many wineries were ever permitted to build wineries here, since it is essentially an eastern suburb of the city.
Producers experiment with other cool-climate loving aromatic varieties like Pinot gris, Viognier and Riesling. Charming sparkling wine is also possible, which is made from Pinot noir and Chardonnay. On its north side, lower, west-facing slopes make full-bodied Shiraz.
The Adelaide Plains is a hot region northwest of the Adelaide Hills that produces simpler, value-driven wines.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based 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. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.