With the release of our new 6Ft6 Chardonnay, we thought it was a good time for a short history lesson and provide reason as to why Chardonnay’s 2.0 resurgence is worth the applause.
Originating from France’s admired Burgundy region, Chardonnay’s emergence in Australia started in the early 1970’s and by the end of the 70’s led the pack during the ‘white wine boom’ as our tastes in wine changed from big reds and fortified wines to whites.
Naturally a subtle fruit flavoured grape, Chardonnay lends itself beautifully to wine-making influence with the use of funky ferments, barrel maturation and extended time on lees, however this requires a deft touch, quality cool climate fruit and time. Yet, with a massive amount of Chardonnay now planted, particularly in warmer regions like the Riverland, wine-making shortcuts were made with the unfortunate result of big and bold Chardonnay’s being forced upon the consumer.
Ironically by their creation, these over-ripe, over-oaked and over-the top, heavy wines, no longer were a suitable drink for our climate, which eventually led to consumer rejection and the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement.
After its reputation took a hit, Australian winemakers decided to produce a new style of Chardonnay, making a lighter, sophisticated and more elegant style of wine. By picking fruit earlier and having a more ‘hands-off’ approach, Chardonnay has enjoyed another, well-deserved resurgence and today, accounts for more than half of Australia’s white wine production.
Cool climate regions, like the Moorabool Valley excel at producing Chardonnay due to its elegant, subtle and buttery ripe flavours, compared to warm climate regions that produce Chardonnay’s with tropical fruit flavours at the core. When picked at the right time, Chardonnay boasts citrus-driven characteristics of lemon and lime balanced by the sweetness of peach and nectarine.