Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This is one of Australia's most exciting vineyards. Many Tasmanian chardonnay producers struggle in managing acidity, Tolpuddle simply makes it an essential part of the wine, serving to highlight to highlight the nectarine, white peach and grapefruit flavours. Likewise, oak is an incidental part, serving to delicately frame the fruit.
Planted in 1988 and named after the Tolpuddle Martyrs who grew beer hops on the Coal River Valley vineyard, which now makes one of Australia’s most thrillingly mineral, tightly coiled Chardonnays. Mouthwatering flavours of whetstone, struck match, steely grapefruit and nectarine ricochet energetically all the way to the back palate. Great line and length
What a nose of chalk, crushed stones, slate, vanilla, spices, honeysuckle, sliced apples, quince, dried sage, thyme and a ton of freshly squeezed lemons and limes. The palate’s very edgy with a taut line of acidity, but it fits in so well the stone fruit and flora undertones. Clarity, precision and focus that matches up to any top Grand Cru Burgundy. Not for the faint of heart but the fearless. Drink now or hold.
Tolpuddle Vineyard was established in 1988 and it took its name from the Tolpuddle Martyrs: English convicts transported to Tasmania for forming an agricultural union. The leader of the Martyrs, George Loveless, served some of his sentence working on a property near Richmond, part of which is now Tolpuddle Vineyard.
The vineyard is planted with mature Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines, facing north-east, and sloping gently up from Back Tea Tree Road. The soil is light silica over sandstone and of moderate vigour, ensuring well-balanced vines producing grapes of great flavour and intensity.
In 2006 Tolpuddle Vineyard won the inaugural Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year award, reflecting the performance of this unique and distinguished site.
Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith MW purchased the vineyard in 2011 and are fully committed to seeing Tolpuddle Vineyard recognised as one of Australia’s great single vineyards.
Directly south of the city of Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula wine region, the cool-climate island of Tasmania has earned an honorable reputation as the country’s finest producer of sparkling wine. Naturally the region also excels in top quality still wines from Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, all distinguished because of a high natural acidity. Most of the Tasmania vineyards cluster around the eastern side of the island from north to south.
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.