2021 Best Chardonnay Wines - Wine Companion Awards
98 points - James Halliday "Planted on a east-facing terraced hill slope. It's quite certain the wine was barrel-fermented with a percentage of new French oak, but it's been soaked up by the fruit. It's an intricately polished wine, the fruit/oak/acid balance sheer perfection, its longevity impossible to guess."
95 Points - Campbell Mattinson "Fabulous chardonnay. The cup runneth over. Slick, spritely, satiny and sustained. There’s flavour, there’s finesse, there’s a flourish to the finish. Lemon, lime, a sorbet-like aspect, nectarine and white peach, with a classy clip of spicy-sweet cedarwood oak. There’s almost a bacony aspect here, a smoked meat note, rosemary even, though it’s exquisitely pure of fruit. Potential for positive development is huge."
Zalto Denk-Art Bordeaux Glass
Due to further lockdowns in Austria we are experiencing extended delays with our Zalto orders.
We are currently expecting our next delivery to arrive October 2021.
The Zalto Bordeaux glass is recommended for weightier style reds, probably our most widely used glass when tasting in house, this glass is great for many different wines. The large bowl helping aerate and soften tannins whilst accentuating the wine's depth and concentration. The Bordeaux glass is the ideal choice for Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Bordeaux or Rhône style blends and many other red wines. Surprisingly, it is also the glass of choice for oaked Chardonnay, the shape of the bowl accentuating the balance of ripe fruits and oak.
"The estate is located in the Upper Yarra Valley which experiences a cooler climate which leads to greater freshness and finesse in the wines. Franco’s notes his experiences in winemaking across the world as having significant influences on his style, learning something new from each place."
Hoddles Creek Estate is owned and run by the D’Anna family who first established a vineyard in 1997 on the property that had been in the family since the 1960’s. The vineyard consists of predominately Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with additional blocks of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Due to the steeply sloping aspect of the vineyard, machine harvesting is not possible and all pruning and harvesting has to be done by hand which ultimately ensures minimal fruit damage and a higher quality of fruit. The estate is located in the Upper Yarra Valley which experiences a cooler climate which leads to greater freshness and finesse in the wines.
The viticulturalist and winemaker at Hoddles Creek Estate is Franco D’Anna who begin his career at the age of 13, working in the family liquor store, becoming the chief wine buyer by the age of 21. After completing his Bachelor of Commerce degree, Franco went on to study viticulture at Charles Sturt University whilst helping to maintain a newly planted vineyard, and working a vintage at James Halliday’s Coldstream Hills and two years at Witchmount, gaining further experience in subsequent years in France, Sicily and Northern Italy. Franco sought mentoring from Mario Marsen from Mount Mary who consulted on Hoddles Creek’s first vintage.
Inspired by how his Grandfather did it back in Italy, Franco’s philosophy is about simplicity and making traditional wines with minimal intervention. The winery is split level with the tanks upstairs and the barrel store located 3 metres underground allowing the wines to be gravity fed, using no artificial cooling or heating, simply opening the doors of the winery at night to let in the natural cool air all leading to a gentler winemaking process.
Franco’s notes his experiences in winemaking across the world as having significant influences on his style, learning something new from each place. His experience at James Halliday’s Coldstream winery taught him how fundamental a rigorous hygiene practice is in the winery, his time spent in Gevrey-Chambertin with Pierre Naigeon about monitoring tannin levels to produce gentler, finer tannins that help the wine to age. His time in Barolo working with Nebbiolo furthered his understanding on tannin management and at Mount Etna in Sicily, Franco gained a deep understanding of the natural wine movement.
Located just east of Melbourne in Victoria and surrounding the Yarra River, Yarra Valley enjoys a mix of influences both Mediterranean and continental with the two main soil types being the bright red, fertile, volcanic soil found mainly around Seville. Yarra Valley has a climate slightly cooler than Bordeaux enabling a range of grapes from Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon and Semillon to Rhone varieties such as Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier and Roussanne, but it is the cool climate varieties, most notably Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that the region is becoming most well known for, rivalling the great wines that are coming out of Margaret River and Tasmania.
It is known as the birthplace of Victoria with vines first being planted back in 1838, the region’s wine industry grew rapidly up until the early part of the 21st Century when the wine industry ceased production due to increased demand for fortified wine. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when names such as Dr Bailey Carrodus of Yarra Yerring and Dr John Middleton began replanting that the regions industry was revived. These names who were responsible for bringing the region back to life, have inspired a new generation of winemaker to continue taking the region forward and now Yarra Valley’s wine industry is thriving.
The Yarra Valley has a reputation across Australia as being a region that is buzzing with creativity. With experimental winemakers, pushing the boundaries, creating a culture of ground breaking, innovative winemaking that is driving Yarra Valley’s reputation as one of the most exciting regions in Australia today. This tendency towards pushing the boundaries of winemaking has spawned a minimalist movement in the region and you can find many producers that are creating wines with the absolute minimum of interference, sometimes bottling the wines unfined or unfiltered.
One of the most exciting producers that we’ve discovered from Yarra Valley is Hoddles Creek Estate, owned by winemaker Franco D’Anna. Franco specialises in creating Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. With the majority of their plantings in the cooler upper Yarra Valley, Hoddles Creek keep to the Yarra ethos of minimal, gentle winemaking and have created a range of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that are up there with some of Australia’s very best.
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