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This Tolpuddle release is one of the most interesting, high-quality and indeed divisive Chardonnays in Tasmanian wine.
In his stellar 97 point review of the 2013 vintage, James Halliday remarked, “This label is certain to grace some of the greatest Aus pinots and chardonnays in the years ahead, the vineyard (planted in ‘88) a Tasmanian jewel.”
The “jewel” is situated in the south of Tasmania in the Coal River Valley. Set on a continuous slope facing North-East, this is the ideal locale for producing top-class, premium versions of Burgundian grapes.
The thing is, this isn’t for everyone. Whilst reviewers and punters alike all recognise its class, it has been divisive in years gone by due to its linear, tightly wound nature. It is the antithesis of the ‘old school’ Australian Chardonnay, built on acid and structure.
The 2014 vintage sees slightly more ripeness and richness than in previous years, and has received a stream of brilliant reviews from the likes of Huon Hooke, Gary Walsh and Mike Bennie, as well as a Trophy for Best Tasmanian Chardonnay at the 2016 IWC.
Personally, we loved it, and while it offers classy drinking now it is an excellent proposition for the cellar. One for the Chablis lovers!
What It Tastes Like
“True to its cool season, this is a tightly-honed Tolpuddle that captures the vibrant acid tension of southern Tasmania and contrasts it with the texture, body and complexity of lees age, lending struck flint and almond meal character and finely-honed mouthfeel. It holds all of this with accurate line and length, energised by the ever-present acid drive of this cool place.” - Mike Bennie
Trophy for Best Tasmanian Chardonnay.
- 2016 International Wine Competition
97 points. “Light yellow hue, the bouquet showing very fresh, refined, cashew nut and creamy yeast lees aromas, tight and reserved. The palate backs this up, with very tight, fine, high-acid presence, which is positively Chablis-esque. Piercing acidity is strongly felt. An absolutely cracking cool-climate chardonnay.”
- Huon Hooke
95 points. “These Tolpuddle Chardonnays are always released too early. I taste them on release. Then I taste them again some years on. In blind tastings. In non-blind tastings. They keep cropping up. You could say, they have stamina…
Tight. Always released too early, so I gave it a day to relax. And another day for good measure. The outcome of all that is, in short, that it’s Very Good. Bright, tangy, almost Chablis-like with pure fruit, leaning towards lime and white peach, green olive mitigated by some creamy cashew, stony texture, then a big burst through the finish. Line and length, I guess, is what they go for, but this year packs in a bit more ripeness and flavour, which is more than welcome. The feel of it is very good. And it’s very good to drink. It’s a pretty intellectual style, but gee they’ve done it well this year.”
- Gary Walsh (The Wine Front)
94 points. “True to its cool season, this is a tightly-honed Tolpuddle that captures the vibrant acid tension of southern Tasmania and contrasts it with the texture, body and complexity of lees age, lending struck flint and almond meal character and finely-honed mouthfeel. It holds all of this with accurate line and length, energised by the ever-present acid drive of this cool place. “
- Mike Bennie (Wine Business Magazine)
WINE SPECS On the nose there are hints of citrus and white flowers and on the palate the power and class shine through. A spine of crisp acidity is accompanied by great flavour through the line of the palate. There is a subtlety but also great concentration, and a purity that bodes well for cellaring.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
About the Producer
On an expedition to Tasmania in 2011, Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith MW purchased a stunning vineyard in the Coal River Valley which they thought had the potential to make some of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the region.
Tolpuddle is now one of Tasmania’s most talked about vineyards, producing wines of blistering precision and finesse which have received rave critical acclaim. They are highly sought-after and are some of the finest examples of these varieties that can be found anywhere on the Apple Isle. These are premium wines that should be savoured.
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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