Tag Archives: Richard McIntyre

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Whatever Happened to Big, Rich Chardonnay?

I regularly run into drinkers who lament the passing of rich, full-bodied chardonnays. They rightly observe that there’s been a sea-change in Australian chardonnay, from the big, buttery, often rather oaky styles of the 1980s and ‘90s to the lower-alcohol, finer, less-oaky and more ageworthy wines of today. Who could forget the ‘Dolly Parton’ wines such as the Tucker Seabrook Trophy-winning Renmano Chairman’s Selection Chardonnay in the early 1990s, an almost undrinkable wine in my view. The pendulum has swung way back to more delicate, and generally much better wines. They’re often made by winemakers avoiding the enriching malolactic fermentation, but the biggest change has been fruit sourcing. Today’s best chardonnays come from much cooler vineyards. But perhaps the pendulum has swung too far.