Chardonnay is one of my favourite wines to taste and to drink. This month I’ve uploaded more than 100 new-release chardonnays, and the big news is just how exciting the 2012s are – throughout the country, especially in southern Victoria, but also Geelong, Mount Barker, Orange, Tumbarumba, even Coonawarra.

My top-rated ‘12s included Balnaves, Ross Hill, Ravensworth, Plantagenet and Farr Rising (all under $40), while there are many other rippers from Giant Steps, Flametree SRS, Pepper Tree Venus Block, Medhurst and the new second-string Cullen chardonnay, Cullen Vineyard, which is very keen value at $45.

There are also plenty of surprises from 2011, and not only from the parts of the country that avoided the deluge such as the Hunter and Western Australia, but also Tasmania (a wonderful Bellwether from Sue Bell), Mornington’s Moorooduc Estate The Moorooduc, and arguably the greatest ever from Gary and Nick Farr down at Geelong: the 2011 By Farr which I scored 97 – but only after the first sample was marginally corked! Of course WA and the Hunter turned in some beauties: don’t miss Lakes Folly (not one, but two great chardonnays in 2011), and from Margaret River, Cullen’s extraordinary Kevin John, Laurance and Sandalford’s Prendiville.

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