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RockBare Chardonnay 2009
Serve lightly chilled and be gastronomically seduced by pairing with san choy bow, chicken dumplings or plump melt in the mouth gratinéed scallops.
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. Whites, often made from Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc tend to be opulent and full of tropical, stone and citrus fruit.
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.