Australia’s oldest Chardonnay vineyard – so proclaims the label, even though an establishment date of 1973 reveals the relative youth of this variety’s presence on the local wine scene. I’ve got a couple of Cowra Chardonnays on the table this evening, both reasonably priced (as a lot of Cowra wines appear to be).
On the nose, some smokey, burnt match overlays tight, white stonefruit notes and a bit of minerality. It was a bit yeasty at first but those funky notes blew off fairly quickly, leaving behind this lean, quite stylish aroma profile. No overt complexity, just balance and a bit of tension between notes that don’t quite go together — I mean this in a good way.
The palate follows a similarly lean route, emphasising the nose’s attractive minerality and elaborating a little on the fruit character. A cool, clean entry that shows firm, fine acidity. Things don’t get terribly flavoursome until the middle palate, where a mostly-savoury character relaxes a little on the tongue. Fruit begins to leak: grapefruit, white nectarine, very much a cooler climate flavour profile. This expands through the after palate, whose acidity shows some hardness but which nonetheless is well-shaped and straightforward. There appears a minimum of winemaking here and the consequently simple style comes as something of a relief; also, it seems well-matched to the fruit character. The clean finish is quite mineral and very refreshing.
Good value, utterly unpretentious Chardonnay.