Bannockburn Vineyards Chardonnay 2022 MAGNUM
There can’t be many Victorian Chardonnays with a track record as impressive as Bannockburn’s. The quality and style on offer can be traced back to the estate’s exceptional, organically farmed sites, the Olive Tree Hill Vineyard (planted in 1976 and abutting the S.R.H parcel) and Winery Block (1981), both on volcanic soils over limestone clays with an average vine age of around 35 years. Recently, the Estate Chardonnay has also included fruit from the Kelly Lane Vineyard (Clone 76), and this release also includes a small component from Stuart’s Block.
Whole-bunch pressed and settled overnight, the juice was then wild-fermented in a mixture of 500-litre French oak hogsheads and puncheons (20% new), with 70%undergoing malolactic. The wine spent 10 months on lees with no stirring.
It’s an exceptional release that strikes a mouth-watering balance between fruit weight, tensile acidity and supple texture. Stone fruit flavours are complemented by richer characters and balanced by crystalline freshness, tangy grip and a lengthy, complex finish. Such a detailed and refined release.
“Pure fruit, perfect balance, lots of length. It will need time to build complexity but everything here appears to be in excellent working order. Pear, apple, grapefruit and white peach flavours come littered with seashells and smoky, cedarwood oak. Nothing is overdone; everything glides along.” 94 points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
Variety - Chardonnay
Country - Australia
Region - Victoria
Sub Region - Geelong, Moorabool Valley
Extra - Screwcap
Year - 2022
Volume - 1500ml
Since its establishment by the late Stuart Hooper in 1974, Bannockburn Vineyards has been at the vanguard of the Australian fine wine story, producing vineyard designated wines of the highest quality from the start.
Stuart’s vinous passion was developed in WW2 Europe where he developed a fondness for the wines of Burgundy. Subsequently, on his return to Geelong and retirement, he developed Bannockburn Vineyards from scratch. Gary Farr (By Farr) became their first winemaker (1978 to 2004), and Bannockburn’s success is a large attributed to his visionary efforts.
Lying 25kms northwest of Geelong along the Midland Highway, the estate is located in the Moorabool Valley sub-region, just outside the township of Bannockburn. Here, Bannockburn’s predominantly mature vines are rooted in one of Victoria’s most unique low-fertility terroirs; volcanic surface debris and ancient sea beds running to richer and darker soils, layered over predominantly limestone bedrock.
Under Holmes’ (current Winemaker) direction there’s been a stylistic tilt in the winery, and with his Chardonnay, he’s steering a racier, more mouth-watering course—with less emphasis on lees and oak and more on vibrant acidity and freshness. Yet it is perhaps the style and quality of Bannockburn’s Pinot Noir in which the changes can be most keenly observed. An earlier-bottling regime and more reticent use of whole bunches are resulting in a purity of expression perhaps never seen under this label.
In the vineyards, Holmes works with Lucas Grigsby, Bannockburn’s viticulturist for over 30 years. Grigsby takes great pride in tending to the vineyards with a strong belief in organic farming practices to maintain the health of the soils and Bannockburn’s vines. Between them, the pair’s viticultural principles are based on a healthy respect for the land and responsible farming, e.g., the use of organic composting and straw mulching to eliminate the need for herbicide sprays and the cultivation of inter-row cover crops to add soil nutrients.
These principles flow through into the winery where Holmes employs minimal additions, wild yeast ferments and low intervention winemaking resulting in wines that are made with integrity and that are distinctively Bannockburn.