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The Lucky Country Chardonnay 2010
A lifted bouquet of lemon zest, melon, sherbet, pineapple, peach and musk. The palate starts out quite creamy with a lovely mouth-watering appeal. The soft acid is bountiful and gives the palate a lovely citrus lemon burst that powers the fruit effortlessly to a nice round and soft finish.
The Lucky Country started as a small project created by Michael Twelftree of the famed Two Hands Winery, for a select few clients.
Since then it has become a descriptive label for Australia and its wealth of natural resources, beautiful weather, stunning landscapes and relaxed lifestyle. It is the same slice of fortune that allows the fertile soils of Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale to yield such lush, vibrant fruit from which The Lucky Country is made.
By contrast, Lucky Country Shiraz is made in a simple, natural fashion, with individual parcels of fruit fermented, pressed and barreled separately until blending just prior to bottling. Minimally fined and unfiltered, the wine starts out layered and concentrated, then reveals a much softer side on the finish.
Historically and presently the most important wine-producing region of Australia, the Barossa Valley is set in South Australia, where more than half of the country’s wine is made. Because the climate is very hot and dry, vineyard managers must be careful so that grapes do not become overripe.
The intense heat is ideal for plush, bold reds, particularly Rhône blends featuring Shiraz, Grenache, and Mataro (Mourvèdre). White grapes can produce crisp, fresh wines from Riesling, Chardonnay, and Semillon if they are planted at higher altitudes.
Most of Australia’s largest wine producers are based here and Shiraz plantings date back as far as 1860. Many of them are dry-farmed and bush-trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, purple juice.
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.