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RockBare Chardonnay 2003
Tight and flavoursome describes the palate of this wine. Intense lime and citrus fruits on the front palate, that slowly changes into a mixture of guava and pears. Oatmeal/yeasty middle palate derived from time on yeast lees complexes the wine, which is further enhanced by smoky fine grain French oak. A wine of great length, with an aftertaste of ripe pears and melons.
Tim gained extensive winemaking experience working at Southcorp, where he was responsible for making one of Australia's most expensive premium Chardonnays, Yattarna. But when Tim created the RockBare label in 2000, he decided to incorporate winemaking techniques that go back a hundred years or more. Using a minimal-filtering or no-filtering approach and very little oak aging, Tim makes wines with complex flavors driven by the fruit.
McLaren Vale has a moderate, Mediterranean-style climate that's ideal for growing super-high quality grapes. Spring and summer days are warm and dry. Nights are cool and breezy. Only slightly above sea level, the vale is characterized by beautiful, rolling hills with deep, rich alluvial soils that tend to be brown and red clays. Since Tim works with a wide array of grape growers, some of the grapes come from old vines and some from new. But all are highly characteristic of the grapes that produce the bright, flavorful and aromatic wines for which McLaren Vale is famous.
Known for opulent red wines with intense power and concentration, McLaren Vale is home to perhaps the most “classic” style of Australian Shiraz. Vinified on its own or in Rhône blends with Grenache and Mourvèdre, these hot-climate wines are deeply colored and high in extract and alcohol, with signature hints of dark chocolate and licorice. Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced in a similar style, as are ripe, tropical-fruited Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
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.