New modern chardonnay

Port Phillip Estate makers of Kooyong (Photo: Port Phillip Estate)

I’ve long been an admirer of the chardonnays of Mornington Peninsula winery Kooyong. The 2015s that came my way recently are every bit as good as hoped from this excellent vintage. The Farrago was one of the top-scorers in my recent chardonnay tasting of about 100 wines, the Faultline just a whisker behind it. These are wines that combine the tightness, delicacy and understatement of modern Australian chardonnay with the innate generosity that we expect from the great grape of Burgundy.

I found the Faultline to have more acidity and restraint, the Farrago more richness and a bouquet augmented by smoky oak and sulfide complexities. Both delicious in their way.

Also in this tasting were two superb and very well-priced Yarra Valley wines from Burton McMahon. Matt Burton is a Hunter Valley-based winemaker whose family business is Gundog Estate, while Dylan McMahon is the winemaker at Seville Estate, which his grandparents Dr Peter and Margaret McMahon established.

These two are mates who, as their labels proclaim, “forged a friendship while driving through the wine regions of France in a small car filled with stinky cheese and wine”. Aside from their separate ‘daytime jobs’, they decided then and there to source grapes from special Australian vineyards and produce “interesting and unique wines”.

That, they do. The 2016s are both superb, my preference being marginally in favour of the slightly more powerful D’Aloisio’s Vineyard over the very fine George’s Vineyard, but I scored them identically. They are both taut, restrained styles made from cool, Upper Yarra grapes. At AUD $34 they’re outstanding value.

Also starring in this tasting was the latest Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2014, which strikes me as being one of the more restrained Leeuwins yet – from a vineyard that has always delivered awesome power.

The Margan White Label 2016 is superb: the best chardonnay I can recall from this winery. Another ripper from the same region is the 2016 Poole’s Rock Premiere. Both these Hunter Valley wines are well-priced at AUD $40. At the top end of the price-scale, the Yering Station Reserve 2015 is expensive but magnificent.

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