Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay 2012 was one of four Penfolds wines to make the Top 50 Australian wines of 2014, a list recently put together by wine critic Nick Stock for JamesSuckling.com. (Tasting Report: Nick’s 50 Best Australian Wines of 2014, 5 February 2015, JamesSuckling.com)
The 2010 Penfolds Grange took the number one spot, the Penfolds St Henri 2010 came in fifth, the Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 came in seventh and the Yattarna 2012 occupied 12th place. For chardonnay, Yattarna’s ranking was only eclipsed by the Oakridge Yarra Valley 864 Willowlake Block 6 Chardonnay 2012 in 8th place and the Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay Margaret River 2010 in 9th place.
Stock remarked that the 2012 Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay “has finally fulfilled its potential with the 2012 release,” stating that it “possesses the kind of weight, purity, class, structure and carefully constructed complexity that sets the world’s greatest chardonnay wines apart from the merely good.” (Nick’s Blog: Penfolds 2010 Grange and 2012 Yattarna, 9 October 2014, JamesSuckling.com)
“Finally fulfilled its potential” no doubt refers to the fact in the mid 1990s Penfolds set a bold ambition to create a white wine of the same standard as its world famous Penfolds Grange!
Yattarna is an Aboriginal word that means ‘little by little,’ a name that certainly seems appropriate for a wine that has stylistically evolved over the years.
Like Penfolds Grange, Yattarna is a multi region blend. In more recent vintages fruit has been primarily sourced from the primarily cooler climates of Tasmania and Victoria, with the goal of creating a style of chardonnay that is crisper, tighter and more elegant than the oaky, buttery style in vogue when the inaugural 1995 vintage was first released in 1998.
The 2012 vintage was matured for eight months in 45 percent new French oak. Whole-bunch pressing, barrel-fermentation including the use of some wild yeasts, malolactic fermentation and lees-stirring (battonage) are just some of the winemaking techniques employed to give weight, texture, complexity and great ageing potential to this elegant, fine-boned cool-climate chardonnay.
Here’s wine critic’s Huon Hooke’s impressive 97 point review:
Light to very light colour, the bouquet likewise very fresh, youthful and undeveloped. Nougat, a hint of almond and marzipan. The palate is tremendously intense and focused, concentrated and powerful, with great line and length. Amazing purity of flavour, as well as line and length. A great wine with a massive future before it. (HuonHooke.com, 19 November 2014)
Merrill Witt, Editor
Back vintages of Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay are available on the Cellarit Wine Market