Chardonnay bonanza

Stonier Wines (Photo: Stonier Wines)

Senior Mornington Peninsula winery Stonier has been making superb chardonnay and pinot noir for many years, but the latest crop of single-vineyard and reserve chardonnays shows Stonier is in better form than ever.

Winemakers Mike Symons and Will Byron produce a floating number of single-vineyard wines, depending on what the season provides. In 2016, there was a chardonnay bonanza with five single-vineyard bottlings as well as the Stonier Reserve; in 2015 and 2014, three plus Reserve.

I recently tasted my way through all 14 and the reviews are now on the app. All scored between 91 and 96, with six wines earning gold-ribbon points.

It would be overly simplistic to say some vineyards performed better than others, although KBS (the initials of founder Brian Stonier), seems to bob up near the top of the pile regularly, with wonderful fruit purity its trademark. And Lyncroft, one of the highest sites, is especially highly regarded.

The wines vary subtly in style, with some showing more artifact than others, perhaps as a result of varying altitudes and degrees of malolactic. The vineyards vary in altitude from 55 to 195 metres. Some are more pure in their fruit and some show some matchstick sulfide notes. The Reserves tend to show a little more oak, acidity and restraint – perhaps with a view to longer ageing.

Other stand-outs in my recent tasting of 110 chardonnays were:

TarraWarra Estate MDB 2015 (a great wine and only the third time a chardonnay has been released bearing the initials of owners Marc and Daniel Besen), Xanadu 2015 Reserve and Xanadu 2015 Stevens Road (both extraordinary wines), Yeringberg 2014, Hutton Triptych 2015, Murdoch Hill Artisan Series The Tilbury 2016, Grace Farm 2015, Ten Minutes by Tractor McCutcheon 2015, Holm Oak The Wizard 2015, and Howard Park 2016.


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