Balnaves Chardonnay 2008

It’s interesting to note this wine’s up-market position in a range, indeed region, known almost exclusively for its red wines. At $A28 retail, it’s hardly bargain basement territory, and the label goes to some effort to impress the drinker with the care (hand picked!) taken here. 

The style is opulent, with fruit flavour in the yellow nectarine spectrum and no shortage of winemaker input. On the nose, rich aromas of ripe stonefruit and cream, soft cashew nuts and lightly smoked vanilla. Wannabe Chablis this is not, and for that I’m grateful, because it offers, instead of second-hand style, a balanced interpretation of heavyweight Chardonnay that seems to suit the character of the fruit. 
The palate is as expected, combining a similarly rich flavour profile with a slippery-slide mouthfeel and what appears to be a bit of alcohol heat too (label says 13% abv).  Nicely flavoursome entry, with subtle acid and a hint of minerality underlining nectarines that aren’t quite as squishy as on the nose. The middle palate is where it’s at, though, presenting a wash of quite complex flavour, including a decent contribution from spicy oak. There’s a bit of crème caramel too, cushioning the assertive fruit and oak elements. Things start to fall apart a bit through the after palate, as all that rich, bold flavour becomes too much for the wine’s architecture to contain. But it’s a pleasant sort of disintegration, leading to a long, quite powerful finish of peach tarte tatin
I’m wishing for a tad more minerality, structure and thrust through to the finish, which would make this wine’s voluminous flavour profile nimbler and more elegant. Still, it’s a solid wine and will be pleasing to those of you (like me) who enjoy bustier Chardonnay styles.

Price: $A28
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Sample

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