In 2019, when one of this winery's Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay's absolutely rolled the floor at Australia's most prestigious wine show, Royal Melbourne, people stood up and took notice.
As a multi-regional outfit, this winery's ascension to the table of 'seriousness' was complete. With the trophy for Best Single Vineyard wine, Best Chardonnay and Best White Wine in the bag, a new dawn was on the cards.
They have never been shy about wanting the best in Australian wine. Their philsophy has been commendable, and the results are taking shape. Purely focused on bio-dynamics, organics, and minimal interventionist viticulture, the winery has embarked upon a program to uncover the best pockets of terroir across the wine regions of Australia.
In Victoria, they've landed on two legendary sites. One the now infamous Wombat Creek in the Yarra Valley, home to some of our best cool-climate expressions of Pinot and Chardonnay, and the Capella vineyard in the Mornington.
This Collection Chardonnay, sourced from the 'goldilocks' 2017 vintage, comes from fruit off that Capella vineyard. Purity and balance are the buzz words here, especially with the passage of time. While in its youth this Chardonnay was decidedly embryonic, it's come alive with the passage of time. Gun flint, nectarine, smoke, custard apple, bread dough and grapefruit all make for a wine that is indulgent, yet effortless.
It's no wonder Huon Hooke was recently taken aback but just how splendid this wine truly is. In July of 2020 he awarded it an incredible 97 points, which places it in the highest echelons of Australian wine. Normally $50 a bottle at the cellar-door and elsewhere online, our incredible one-off price is unmatched.
Few Chardonnay's have come through our tasting bench recently as good as this one. Do what you can and must to uncover this 3-year-old gem now.
Vintage 2017 on the Mornington Peninsula was a classic one in which overall mild and stable conditions produced outstanding quality fruit and wines of great balance, finesse and longevity. Dubbed by some a “Goldilocks” vintage - not too hot, not too cold, neither too windy nor too humid, too wet or dry – 2017 delivered just enough and not too much of everything. Vines ripened slowly, building great depth of flavour while retaining fine balance in sugar and acid. Harvest began in early-March, a little later than the long-term average, and somewhat of a relief after the record-early vintage of 2016.
A blend of clones P58 and Mendoza from Capella Vineyard and fruit from select vineyards in Red Hill and Main Ridge. The fruit was pressed in whole bunches and the juice was fermented in French oak barrels. Some barrels were inoculated with yeast and some were left to ferment naturally with wild yeasts. There was partial malolactic fermentation and the barrels were regularly stirred. The wine was matured in the same barrels for 10 months.
This wine has layers of bright citrus and stones fruits with lively natural acidity. Fermentation and maturation in select French oak barrels adds texture, nut flavours and a touch of gun flint.
HUON HOOKE - THE REAL REVIEW
Bright, light-yellow hue. A thin veil of smoky reduction wafts atop a bouquet of gently buttery peach and nectarine fruit. Delicate, refined, light-bodied but also quite intense and long, it's a very subtle but charming wine. Fine balance. A touch of grapefruit at the core. Great flavour and at three years of age, it's eminently drinkable. Harmony personified. A fabulous chardonnay.
JENI PORT - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
Bristling with the kind of brio that comes with a home ground advantage for the Mornington Peninsula winery, Handpicked knows its subject very well and delivers a chardonnay masterclass. Oak is perfectly in tune with superb white peach fruit and quince. A whiff of matchstick, smoke and toast and a general harmony and all round balance.
MIKE BENNIE - THE WINE FRONT
Flint and smoke, lean citrus and green apple fruit character, overlay of spicy wood. Fruit AWOL but all that edifice doing its thing. Chewy texture, flint-smoke flavours, nougat with dried apple, quite lush in a way, supple, good length of flavour, generous and vibrant. Plenty good, in its ‘Nouveau Aus Chard’ style.