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The Yarra Valley is considered by many as one of the epicentres of the modern Australian Chardonnay. There is much scope for differences in style amongst the Yarra sub-regions. Yarra born and raised winemaker Caroline Mooney believes the Upper Yarra offers conditions that are "perfect for Chardonnay as they help maintain natural acidity whilst the flavours develop in the fruit." Her 2013 release has received rave reviews from Campbell Mattinson, James Halliday and Andrew Graham for its complexity and generosity as a young wine. She allows 25% of the fruit to go through malolactic fermentation to put a little more flesh on the wine's bones building a more complete mouthfeel and increased enjoyment for the drinker. This is a Chardonnay that tastes like Chardonnay.
What it Tastes Like
"There’s much to like about this chardonnay. It lines up the goals and slots it straight through. Polished and creamy but grapefruity and long. Mineral notes, smoke, nectarine and toast. It doesn’t seem simple but nor does it seem forced. It drinks well now but it’s going to age well too." - Campbell Mattinson (The Wine Front)
94 points " Now this is exciting Chardonnay. Caroline Mooney has channeled the ripeness of ’13 Yarra Valley into a wine of mouthful and grandiosity. Straw green coloured, the nose is a fanfare of flavour. Nougat and lemon biscuits plus a little lanolin. Some sulphide funk, but importantly matched to swelling, mouth filling white nectarine fruit with cake batter richness in there too. There’s a minor quibble here about warmth and breadth, but just when it looks to be too full and too much the finish tightens up and brings everything back to earth. Clever wine, with a pomp that demands bombastic food like lobster. Drink it now for best effect. Best drinking: 2016-2018. 18.5/20, 94/100. 13.2%, $35. Would I buy it? Sure would." - Andrew Graham (Oz Wine Review) 93+ points. "I’ve not tasted any of the previous releases of Bird on a Wire but from what I’ve seen of the 2013s, this is one very impressive producer. There’s much to like about this chardonnay. It lines up the goals and slots it straight through. Polished and creamy but grapefruity and long. Mineral notes, smoke, nectarine and toast. It doesn’t seem simple but nor does it seem forced. It drinks well now but it’s going to age well too." - Campbell Mattinson (The Wine Front) 93 points "Unforced chardonnay. Impresses in an off-hand way. Nectarine, grapefruit, mineral notes and burnt toast. It has length but it has enough mouthfeel and richness to feel creamy and intense. Plenty to offer now, and plenty up its sleeve." - James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion)
Bird on a Wire Chardonnay 2013 The fruit for the Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard high up in the Yarra Valley. The vines are 36 years old, which aids in the depth and complexity of the wine. The naturally cool nights and sunny days in the Upper Yarra are perfect for Chardonnay as they help maintain natural acidity whilst the flavours develop in the fruit. As a result no acid adjustment is required in the winery and the line and length of acidity in the finished wine is testament to the growing conditions. This vineyard has a distinct pear skin character with balance between elegance and texture, the latter being something sometimes over looked in Chardonnay. The decision to put the wine through 25% malolactic fermentation has resulted in beautiful depth and yet searing acidity, providing the structure and support for flavour components to travel the full length of the palate. This structure will without a doubt enable considerable ageing. The oak is 100% French (25% new) which with the aid of barrel fermentation is well integrated. Fining for light clarification only. Region: Upper Yarra Valley Clone: P58
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
Drink Until: 2021
About the Producer
Bird on a Wire
Yarra Valley local, Caroline Mooney is the mastermind behind Bird on a Wire. With only three wines in the range, she has deliberately managed to keep the focus tight and the quality of her wines high. They are made with a gentle touch and sourced from a selection of some of the Yarra’s most beautiful vineyards.
The Yarra Valley stands tall as one of the country’s finest cool-climate wine regions. Only a short jaunt from Melbourne, the Yarra has become a tourist hot-spot for its stunning scenery, high quality produce, and of course, as the home to some of the country’s most iconic wine producers. From the extraordinarily elegant Cabernets and Syrahs that populate the ‘Valley floor’, to the precise and complex versions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that hail from the higher climes of the Yarra, this region is diverse and in a state of change. As temperatures rise and phylloxera infiltrates each pocket of the Yarra Valley, the range of alternative varieties from continental Europe is sure to increase to create a more colourful picture of the region. The Yarra embodies so much of what is great about the modern Australian wine scene.
Australian Chardonnay is a seductive variety that comes in all shapes and sizes. From the toasty and voluptuous to the lean, flinty and minerally, there is a Chardonnay out there to suit everyone. Australia’s developing prowess with this variety has been marked by the international community with wine writers such as Jancis Robinson marvelling at the outstanding value to be had right across the country. The prestige brands of Margaret River offer wines of deep flavour and power, often crafting fuller-figured Chardonnay of outstanding quality. The cooler-climate wines from the Yarra Valley, Tasmania and the like are more focused and linear, building complexity around a backbone of pristine acidity. Whatever your preference, there is an Australian Chardonnay to enchant all comers.
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