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If you are going to make Beechworth Chardonnay, it is fair to say the bar has been set high. Names like Giaconda, Savaterre and Sorrenberg have set the standard for the region and they are some big shoes to fill. Tessa Brown and Jeremy Schmolzer form one of Beechworth's most exciting emerging wineries. Their 2016 Chardonnay is a killer drop and a dead-set bargain. This Chardonnay comes from the vineyard directly across the road from their own block of fledgeling vines way up in the high country behind Beechworth. It is a beautiful site. The fruit is treated delicately; predominantly older oak, all natural ferments, malo only happens if it wants too. Nothing about this wine feels forced, it feels like it was nurtured into being. If this is the next generation of Beechworth Chardonnay, there's a bright future ahead for the region.
What it Tastes Like
This is singing. A medium-bodied, elegant Beechworth Chardonnay here from Tessa and Jeremy. Ripe yellow peach, the delicate spice of the oak folded gently throughout the fruit, minerality in the core. Takes a line and holds it through the mouth delivering ample flavour with quiet restraint. It's balanced just so. Great release. Drinking beautifully now and will continue to improve.
95 points "In a discussion around a table it’s wonderful to know that part of VS&B backstory weaves into Sorrenbergs, though the cues from the Beechworth region might skew at both places. That being said, the mentor/mentee/community that meets between the two producers is potent, great stuff. This wine, a more modern, but pure feeling rendition of chardonnay, is far from pejorative in that description. Indeed, this stellar chardonnay shows verity amongst its leaner fruit flavours, great detail, a touch of savouriness, deliciousness. Kudos to these youngsters farming their own, making their own too – an important conversation about process and provenance can start with that position. Tense, bright, energetic chardonnay of leaner profile but plenty of fine detail. Check that fine spicy, clove overlay, the tickle of flint-like mineral character, the grapefruit pithy acidity and the rapier-thrust across the palate. It sings in wet slate and fine floral perfume, feels assertive in mineral-charged flavour and texture. Mouthwatering finish a treat. It’s classy feeling stuff, not a hair out of place, but still with plenty of character to seek out. Shy in a way; reserved done well. I just loved drinking it. It speaks of a meticulous approach. It should age beautifully too." - Mike Bennie (The Wine Front)
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
Drink Until: 2024
About the Producer
Vignerons Schmölzer & Brown
Tessa and Jeremy are playing a long-game with their Vignerons Schmolzer & Brown label. They have invested in a block of land and planted 10,000 vines on it over the last couple of years with plans of managing it fully organically. It comes as no surprise to me that the buzz around this husband and wife team is palpable and the praise is high.
Max Allen recently called them, “one of a remarkable number of impressive new wine labels to have cropped up in Beechworth over the last five years.” - they are going to be at the forefront of Beechworth wine for many years to come.
Beechworth is a small wine producing region with a big reputation. The distinctive terroir in this part of the country produces some of our most iconic wines. If you want serious Chardonnay or Rhone-inspired Shiraz/Syrah, you want to get to know Beechworth. Some of the most powerful cool climate wines in the country hail from here, and some of our future stars are making it their home. The future looks very bright for this champion Victorian region.
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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