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Quality cool climate wine from the Orange wine growing region in New South Wales, Australia

2016 Chardonnay (12 bottle case)

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Sensational quality wine from the Orange, NSW wine growing region.

2016 Chardonnay (12 bottle case)

2016  chardonnay.jpg
2016  chardonnay.jpg

2016 Chardonnay (12 bottle case)

384.00

Chardonnay flower, subtle French oak and chalky ripe citrus notes lead into a gently savoury textured, rainwater-soft palate with bright nectarine and honeydew melon fruit notes throughout. Fresh green gold in colour, with all the flinty minerality and purity of varietal expression so typical of our old Chardonnay vineyard, there remains a generously refreshing presence at the absence of this wine.

Al/Vol 13.5%

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Vineyard

This vineyard is the original Chardonnay vineyard at Bloodwood , and as such is responsible for much of the perception of quality that today surrounds Orange Chardonnay as a style. The free draining but poor soils are derived from a mixture of laminated siltstones and massive volcaniclastic sandstone, over a deep free-draining pale substrate on a northerly slope of 15 degrees or so. Rows are arranged East/West on a pretty close planting of 1.2 by 2.2 metres. The vines are from the traditionally reserved P58 clone, and are trellised to a moderately formal VSP trellis system. Because of the lack of vigour in both the clone and the site, a mixture of cane and spur pruning is used in this vineyard to better balance the vines according to expected seasonal conditions.

Vintage Conditions

The Weather At Bloodwood is always the same; It's Different!

I’m writing this on the 9th March 2016 and we’ve just hand-picked the last of this year’s fruit from the lower Shiraz vineyard. Unlike most vineyards in Australia, our Shiraz is always later to mature than our Cabernet Sauvignon. It usually ripens four or five days after the Cabernet vineyard and traditionally it has been gathered around the end of the first week in April. Now, every wine maker understands that vintage dates jump around a little according to the season, however, until this year, the earliest we have ever completed harvest was 20th March. That record was set in last year’s vintage. The 20th March is an important date in the viticultural scheme of things for Bloodwood. For the first couple of decades it was generally around the date we commenced harvest. Rhonda always seemed to be unimpressed that her birthday celebrations were regularly subsumed under a sticky morass of Chardonnay must and hard physical work. Recently, this seems no longer to be the case. There’s still plenty of work to do in the winery putting the vintage to bed. However, the madness of vintage for an outfit which still persists with hand picking and slow wine making can be eased through a shared bottle of Bloodwood Chardonnay. So what does this year’s wine look like at this juncture? In short, it looks pretty good. The concern with this very warm and dry early vintage was that the fruit would respire its essence and blow out in alcohol levels before we could get round to hand harvesting it. Luckily, with the aid of the excellent Team Bloodwood, (and a few additional picking bins used as open fermenters when the pressure was really on), we seemed to manage well enough through the totally dry conditions of February and March. For the first time at Bloodwood we had to give the winery heat exchanger a real workout to help cool warm ferment temperatures and this has helped mightily in retaining the freshness natural acid balance of our fruit. Traditionally, the issue here has been warming ferments to completion as autumnal temperatures plummet, but not this year. Time will tell, but early indications suggest that 2016 will do no harm to the reputation of Bloodwood wines with the Chardonnay, Schubert, Riesling, Pinot and Shiraz performing very well.

Winemaking

The initial approach for the Chardonnay is much the same as the Schubert, although the grapes are usually picked slightly earlier. The hand‑picked fruit was  whole‑bunch pressed in an air‑bag press to 1.1 atmospheres with the low phenolic juice transferred to an insulated tank for overnight settling and subsequent racking. Some fine settlings were allowed to pass into the racking tank where, under gentle warmth, the juice commenced fermentation. After a brix or so conversion, the newly moving juice was split into 30% well seasoned old oak with the balance fermented to dryness over 30 days in stainless steel. After primary fermentation completed, both parcels of the wine were sulfured to inhibit malo‑lactic fermentation, stirred and transferred to our cool maturation cellar where it spent six months sitting on fine lees. Stirring only occurs if too many reductive notes are seen. The wine was then bench trialled, cold stabilized, protein fined and sterile bottled in September following vintage. Pretty simple approach really with the wine normally making itself. All I've got to do is avoid stuffing things up. 

Wine Analysis

pH 3.13
Acidity 6.3 g/l
Alc/Vol 13.5%

Tasting Notes

Chardonnay flower, subtle French oak and chalky ripe citrus notes lead into a gently savoury textured, rainwater-soft palate with bright nectarine and honeydew melon fruit notes throughout. Fresh green gold in colour, with all the flinty minerality and purity of varietal expression so typical of our old Chardonnay vineyard, there remains a generously refreshing presence at the absence of this wine.

Al/Vol 13.5%

Pale quartz-green; an elegant, focused wine, fruit foremost, oak and other winemaker inputs (if any) in the background; white peach, apple and grapefruit are the keys, with balanced acidity. 13% 94 points
— Mr Halliday's Review of 2013 Chardonnay
Light straw-green; a wantonly, explosively juicy, palate is filled to overflowing with grapefruit and white peach fruit which has contemptuously swallowed the French oak in which it was fermented and matured. Sheer hedonistic pleasure. 12.5% 95 points
— Mr Halliday's Review of 2012 Chardonnay
Pale colour; a distinctly savoury example, with lemon pith, fennel and hazelnut; the palate is taut and high in acid, with a long finish reminiscent of hazelnuts and anise; this will be a challenge to many, but is interesting none the less. 12.5% alc. Rating 90 Drink 2016 BE
— Mr Halliday’s Review of 2011 Chardonnay
Highly Recommended
Restrained, fresh, and grapefruity. A very attractive chardonnay from Orange,N.S.W., in the flinty Chablis style. Distinctive and classy. Excellent Value.
— Winewise Vol 26, Number 2
A zesty, zippy bouquet is citrus‑dominated, but varietal expression comes through on the lively white peach and grapefruit palate. Screwcap.

12.5% alc.

Rating 92

Drink 2016
— Mr Halliday’s Review of 2009 Chardonnay
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