The Oakridge 864 Funder & Diamond Drive Block Chardonnay is one of those wines that delivers unbelievable quality and finesse every year. But there are always those special vintages that stand out just a touch, when everything seems to come together in some sort of cosmic harmony; 2017 is one of those vintages.
It's already picked up a swathe of incredible scores from the critics, three (!) trophies from the 2019 Yarra Valley Wine Show, and overnight has just been awarded James Halliday's Wine Companion Best Chardonnay 2020.
This is a wine that people will talk about for many years to come. Don't hold back.
All grapes hand harvested and sorted prior to whole bunch pressing directly to French oak puncheons for natural fermentation. 20% of the barrels were new. Post-fermentation, the wine was matured on its fermentation lees for 10 months in barrel followed by a further 6 months in tank prior to bottling after a single filtration.
Straw colured with green hues. Burnt match and gunflint sits over grapefruit, lemon, white flowers and green skinned nectarine. The impression is of leanness and tightness, of treading lower ripeness. The palate is beautifully integrated and complex, revealing more with time in the glass. Flint and wet stones, slate, nectarines, papaya and white flowers carried on a seamlessly textured, creamy medium body. The finish is all green apples and lemons – persistent, long and precise with savoury phenolics and mineral refreshment. Linear, formed and complex.
Oakridge was first setup in 1978 as what was originally a family company. By the turn of the century the label was gobbled up by a large Australian wine company (where it flailed) until being taken back into family hands with the talented David Bicknell on winemaking duties in 2002. Since then Oakridge - and David Bicknell - has garnered a reputation as one of our finest Chardonnay makers, with a particularly handy Pinot and Shiraz or two also in the Oakridge portfolio Oakridge is all about the Yarra Valley, and particularly the Upper Yarra where it sources much of it's fruit from. The range starts with the Over the Shoulder wines which are designed as food friendly entry-level drops that would likely find a home on wine lists around the nation. The next step up is the Estate wines, and Local Vineyard Series, which serve to highlight several different vineyards around the Yarra. Finally, the top tier is the 864 wines, including a single vineyard Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the Chardonnay in particular regarded as one of Australia's finer modern whites.
A light yellow in the glass with a fleck of green in colour; white nectarine combines with just ripe fig and a powdery, flint like note that is the signature of Oakridge. The palate shows a wine that contrasts concentration, purity of fruit and winemaker influences in a way that reaches a crescendo of both elegance and interest, a combination not always possible. Oak gives a spice and decadence that along with almondmeal and brioche richness sets the baseline against piercing peach and a lemony thread of acidity. The finish is driven by stone fruits with oyster shell and citrus tones giving both texture and length.
HUON HOOKE - THE REAL REVIEW
Very light straw-yellow hue, remarkably youthful for its age. The bouquet is youthfully backward, too, with chalky, straw-like and wet-wool aromas. The wine is bright and fresh, youthfully taut and intense, with minerally notes and savouriness to burn. This is just a baby, with many years in front of it. Teriffic line and length. It has a huge future. Cellar it!
JAMES HALLIDAY - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
Hand-picked and sorted, pressed to French puncheons for wild ferment and 10 months maturation (+ 6 months in tank). This has incredible length and aftertaste, an enduring Yarra Valley classic. Gold medal Yarra Valley Wine Show '18.
STEVE LESZCZYNSKI - QWINE
A sublime expression. The fruit, oak and acid all align magnificently. Think flint and match sticks, white fleshed stonefruit and precise grapefruit acidity. A subtle creaminess rides underneath with a touch of yoghurt too. The fruit waltzes through the mouth with absolute ease demonstrating a dainty textural presence which holds on longer than Wilson and Phillips. Oh, what gem. Forgive me for licking every last drop out of the glass.
Yum. Love the creamy texture and cooked-apple, straw, cream and light nougat undertones. Very complex and complete. Needs a couple years to come completely together.
CAMPBELL MATTINSON - THE WINE FRONT
Well. Intensity of fruit, a general succulence, matchsticks flung into the flavour, pears, whites peaches, grapefruit squeezed straight in, finish. It runs like it’s awesome, to borrow a line. I’m not a winemaker but I almost felt jealous, just tasting this, which says it all.
JANCIS ROBINSON MW
Trophy winner. Named after the owners of the vineyard which is at 240 m (787 ft) elevation. Three very different blocks of Chardonnay. Planted in 1990, clone P58, own roots on red volcanic soil. Planted at 3,060 vines/ha, yields 7.2 t/ha. Natural fermentation in 500-litre puncheons. 10 months in oak followed by 6 months in tank on its own fermentation lees. TA 6.9 g/l, pH 3.1. Bottled July 2018. Pressed to taste because there’s a level of ‘al dente phenolics’ that they seek. Quite muted and restrained on the nose. Cool and sophisticated. Dry finish and long. Racy and persistent. Sophisticated. Will develop.
Trophy, Best Chardonnay in Show - 2019 Yarra Valley Wine Show
Trophy, Best Single Vineyard White in Show - 2019 Yarra Valley Wine Show
Trophy, Best White Wine in Show - 2019 Yarra Valley Wine Show