Mr Barval


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The Vineyards:

Two 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 plot of vines lies 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.

 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 Season:

The 2019/20 growing season was characterised as being quite a warm one in respect to our typical mild Mediterranean seasons. Spring brought with it the typical mix of stunning days interspersed by a couple of significant storm events which lead reduced fertilisation of the Chardonnay inflorescences and consequent reduction in yields.

 Following on from a marginally warmer than usual spring, Summer arrived rapidly and we had several runs of significantly warmer than average temperatures which lead to an overall seasonal pattern of higher than average day time and night time temperatures – December in particular averaged 3 degrees warmer than average for day time maximum temperatures!

 Another key factor in our growing season weather was very low to no rainfall throughout the summer.

 What does all this mean for the grapes? The warmer temperatures resulted in the Chardonnay ripening a good 2-3 weeks earlier than average which consequently lead to one of the earliest starts to vintage on record – our first pick was on the 31st of January. The warmer than average days and lack of rainfall had the beneficial result of an extremely low disease pressure throughout the growing season meaning that the health of the grapes upon harvest one some of the best I have ever witnessed.


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 14%. 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 9 months during which time it underwent the process of bâtonnage (stirring of the yeast lees in the bottom of the barrel) for 3 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 Wine:

This wine reflects both the warmer 2019/20 season, the quality of the grapes and the high attention to detail in the winery.


The wine displays classic warmer vintage Chardonnay aromas of quince, white peach and nectarine, and hints of biscuity, savoury yeast notes and a suggestion of spiced oak.  On the palate the wine is medium bodied with a wonderfully fresh mineral acidity. The oak, diverse fruit notes and acidity are all held together by the classic Mr Barval soft mouth-feel. The texture and array of aromas and rich flavours result in a wine with fantastic length which is both highly complex as well as being both delicate and elegant


 This wine is drinking wonderfully on release but we expect it to begin to unwind and become more generous on the palate given time in the bottle. For those fans of aged Chardonnay I also believe this wine will age incredibly gracefully for 10+ years.




Robert Gherardi