It’s hard not to engage in a conversation about style when tasting Australian Chardonnay, as the varietal is currently convulsing its way through various winemakers’ ideas of what it ought to taste like, not always happily. It’s disappointing to see ongoing comparisons to Old World styles; surely the point is for us to discover, through experimentation, the most appealing expressions of the grape within our various regions. In any case, it’s a process I am watching, and in a small way contributing to, with interest.
This wine struck me as particularly interesting when it arrived in the mail. A cellar door only release, its pricing marks it as determinedly up-market. And, more or less immediately on pouring, it justified its price point. Ultimate quality aside, this wine throws a whole lot at you without so much as a breather. Aromas leap from the glass: gunpowder, oatmeal, cantaloupe, waxed lemon. It seems a heavily worked wine, but one that expresses its complexity with tight, almost brutal, focus. This isn’t a wine to relax into; rather, it’s at the top of its game, demanding that you, too, stay on your toes.
The palate begins on a cool note, sharp lemon pushing through a luxuriously slippery mouthfeel. The middle palate is marginally wider in line, though one could never describe this as loose. Fine, tight acid supports a flavour profile that is one part lemon and three parts savoury complexities. Intensity is very impressive, a sharp lift of citrus fruit through the after palate particularly striking in this regard. Oatmeal, hessian and nuts take over as the palate moves towards its close, the finish itself showing good extension and an even, elegant diminuendo.
An excellent wine, full of quality winemaking and fruit in equal measure. This makes a very convincing argument for a particular view of Tasmanian Chardonnay.
Stefano Lubiana Wines