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The steady flow of excellent value wines from Tim Shand and the Punt Road team continues here with the 2016 Airlie Bank Chardonnay. This is fruit from the Airlie Bank vineyard in Coldstream made in a generous, fruit-forward style for the Yarra. Remarkably, every drop of juice sees some time in oak, no mean feat for a wine at this price. If you like Chardonnay that tastes like Chardonnay, you'll do well to find a better value mid-week tipple than this.
What it Tastes Like
Smells of peach and nectarine, almonds and a little toast. Yarra Chard through and through albeit a cuddly version. There's weight to the fruit but freshness also. Importantly, it does what it says it's going to do. It gives plenty of Chardonnay love for very little dollars.
A riper, friendlier style Chardonnay naturally fermented in 20% new French oak Hogsheads. The earliness of vintage 2016 was largely climatic, but a bit lunar as well. The flowering of the vines occurred during a very warm, dry spell – perfect conditions for an even fruit set. Those conditions endured throughout Christmas and into January. We had just enough rainfall (in two big events) to squeak us through – but it was touch and go there for a while. The early Easter (the first full moon after the vernal equinox being late March) reminds us that nature takes its cues from the moon – and will not be argued with!
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
Drink Until: 2018
About the Producer
Punt Road are one of the movers and shakers of the Yarra Valley. With a focus on premium quality and more than reasonable pricing, these guys have amassed a great cult following. Tim Shand is the winemaker and his creativity and skill are the perfect matches for the stunning fruit yielded off the Punt Road Estate in Coldstream Hills.
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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