Tag: Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay

Aug 08 2016

How wild yeast fermentation helps to create a sense of place

Posted on August 08, 2016 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Have you recently had a glass of white wine that was a little cloudy in appearance or had a bit of funky nose? But on tasting it impressed you with its richness, complexity of flavours and palate length? Chances are you were drinking a wine that was fermented with wild yeast.

Using wild yeast for fermentation is a growing trend. While most of the big commercial wineries still prefer to use a cultured strain of yeast isolated for its desirable fermentation characteristics and reliable results, boutique wineries have not been afraid to embrace the risks of wild yeast fermentation.

Recent New Zealand research shows that yeasts are territorial and vary according to place. Intuitively this makes sense. The vegetation and surrounding air contains hundreds of strains of yeasts, and the types of strains are determined by the fruit, flowers, soils, trees and grasses in the local area. Consequently, winemakers interested in making wines that express their ‘terroir’ or sense of place believe that fermenting the fruit with wild yeasts helps to impart the wine with a character that is unique to where the fruit was grown.

Of course, wild yeast is only one of several ingredients that gives a wine its special character. Other elements like vineyard location, soil composition, vine maturity, farming practices and winemaking techniques all contribute to the expression of a sense of place.

In an article about wild yeasts, wine critic Huon Hooke singled out the acclaimed Cullen’s Kevin John Chardonnay 2011 as one of the best examples of a wine that has undergone a wild yeast fermentation: “This was slightly feral and very exciting. It lives dangerously. Biodynamically grown and wild fermented, it’s a pioneer and benchmark of the genre. It’s so complex it’s difficult to describe, although honey and oak and what I call … Read the rest

Mar 03 2012

Australia’s Top Ten Aged Chardonnays

Posted on March 03, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Everyone seems to love lists, so I thought I’d put together a list of the top 10 aged Australian Chardonnays, especially since I have had a chance to recently sample back vintages of two that definitely make the list: the Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 1998 and the Savaterre Chardonnay 2004.

A couple of caveats. This list is necessarily retrospective. Chardonnay in Australia is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance at the moment, with brilliant new examples of a more balanced and restrained style winning plaudits from critics and consumers alike. As Fiona Beckett recently noted in The Guardian “of all the wines that Australia produces, [chardonnay] has undergone the most dazzling transformation, reminding us what a sexy, sumptuous, delicious wine chardonnay can be.” (Wine: Australian chardonnay comes of age by Fiona Beckett, The Guardian, 13 January 2012)

The newer examples haven’t yet past the test of time, and while wine critics’ drinking windows certainly suggest great longevity, they haven’t been properly tested. Consequently superbly refined wines like Tapanappa’s Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay and the Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay, which were both first released in 2005 and 2003 respectively, don’t yet have a long enough track record to make the list.

Regular readers of my blog know that I’m a big fan of research, so for inspiration this list draws on the vast knowledge and considerable drinking experience of Australia’s best wine critics. For aged wines, however, you can’t go past the verdict of the consumer, as many of the finest bottles are snapped up for the cellar and then snapped up again on the secondary market.

One of the best gauges of consumer preference is Langton’s Classification of Australian Wines. It is considered “the form guide” for Australia’s best performing and most prized wines. To be considered … Read the rest