Once upon a time I drank very little Chardonnay – no idea why, but I suspect I’d jumped on the ABC bandwagon without even thinking about it. And it is true that once upon a time, much Australian Chardonnay was over oaked and one dimensional – especially the stuff that was exported. I don’t recall drinking an Australian Chardy while living in the UK – but very serviceable Chablis and white Burgundy was available for almost knock down prices, so I didn’t need to seek out the classier Australian efforts.
A couple of years ago I took part in the Negociants Working with Wine program in which one masterclass focussed on Chardonnay. One of the panellists was Sandro Mosele of Port Phillip Estate and Kooyong. I can’t recall (and I am too lazy to get off the sofa and find notes from two years ago!) if we tried the Clonale at that tasting but the event certainly put the Kooyong wines on my radar.
Since then, for me, the Clonale Chardonnay has been one of those very reliable, almost go-to wines. It is reasonably widely available and you do see it on the odd wine list. At around $25 per bottle retail it also falls into my ‘weekday drinking’ price bracket. I do realise that my tolerance for spending on wine far exceeds that of many people – but don’t worry as this wine is definitely good enough to be special occasion material.
In the glass the wine is a pale gold in colour and while oak does rather dominate the nose, there is some spice along with lemon and lime.
Don’t be put off by the oak on the nose though as on the palate there is a lot more fresh fruit evident. Lemon, lime and green apples, along with a touch of ripe pear and the oak sneaks in later. There’s good acidity and excellent structure: the palate develops really beautifully and the wine has good length.
While I do think that $25 a bottle is a more than fair price for this wine, its reliability gives it some extra bonus points. Even if you think you don’t like oaked Chardonnay this is a wine worth checking out – especially if you can just cadge a glass from a friend’s bottle!
$25 from Dan Murphy’s.