ChardonnayRegular price $45.00 Save $-45.00
Production: 1687 bottles
Three diverse and select parcels of Gin Gin clone Chardonnay combined to produce this wine. Gin Gin clone vines were used exclusively as I believe that this clone more so than any other expresses the exceptional and unique Margaret River and sub-regional terroir.
The first 2 plots of vines lie in the famed Wilyabrup sub-region. More examples of Margaret River’s most famous Chardonnays and Cabernets originate from fruit in this subregion than anywhere else in the district. Whilst only being around 150m apart, the two blocks behave drastically different and produce very different qualities in their fruit.
The second plot of vines is in the far south sub-region of Karridale - the most southerly of Margaret River’s subregions. The vineyard is in close proximity to both the Indian and Southern Oceans leading to typically far lower growing season temperatures.
The 2021/22 Season:
The Spring of 2021 was late to arrive with lots of cold days and nights, and plenty of Spring rain. Unfortunately the flowering period of Chardonnay was heavily effected by these spring rains with around a 30% reduction in typical crop levels. Then came the heatwave of late December and January. This was extreme heat for Margaret River and lead to a further 30% reduction in crops as the developing berries were literally cooked and within a handful of days were dry, desiccated husks.
Although we ended up harvesting around 60% less grapes than usual the quality of the portion we did harvest was very high and has lead to a different Chardonnay, reflective of the hot season, but still unmistakably a Mr Barval classic.
All of the grapes for this wine were handpicked into small 8kg crates and immediately transported back to the winery where the whole bunches of grapes were placed gently into a traditional basket pressed to extract the juice. Whole-bunch basket pressing yields around 20+% less juice than a conventional airbag press, but the juice quality is second to none.
The juice was run into a mix of brand new and seasoned oak. 1 brand new French oak barrel was used, giving the wine a new oak percentage of 13%. The remainder of the barrels were a mix of 2 and 3 year old oak. The wine was fermented dry utilising the indigenous yeast which came in on the grape bunches from the vineyard.
Following alcoholic fermentation the wine was encouraged to undergo malolactic fermentation, a process whereby the malic acid naturally present in the grapes is converted into the softer and more textural lactic acid. As with the alcoholic fermentation, this occurred through bacteria which were naturally present in the juice and winery environment. Following 100% completion of Malo the wine was sulphured and the wine racked off its heavy yeast lees. The wine has rested and developed in oak for 10 months during which time it underwent the process of bâtonnage (stirring of the yeast lees in the bottom of the barrel) for 4 months to encourage development of more complex, savoury aromas and flavours.
This wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered, with our aim being to showcase the amazing fruit which went into making it in the purest way possible.
The extremely hot season is reflected strongly in this wine, something which we embrace with our traditional winemaking techniques not adjusting, fining nor filtering. The 2022 Chardonnay displays typical hot year aromas and flavours of ripe yellow peach, nectarine and quince with a sweet orange oil layer also prevalent. On the palate the wine has a lower acidity and slightly higher alcohol than typical for us, all of which is a direct reflection of the hot season and which add to an increased mouthfeel, texture and overall weight. For such a young wine from such a hot year, the balance right across the palate and the length of the palate are impressive. This wine is drinking well upon release but will really hit it straps in another year or two in bottle and will reward extended cellaring of 8 + years.