Tag: Savaterre Chardonnay 2004

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

Mar 03 2012

Savaterre Chardonnay: The Sommeliers’ Choice

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

The Wall Street Journal’s Jay McInerney recently wrote a very interesting article about the growing influence of sommeliers in shaping wine tastes. Our guest editor David Hawkins of One Aussie’s Wine (an Aussie wine buff now living in New York City) followed up with an insightful post about how the shift away from big, ripe, concentrated wines to more elegant and artisanal offerings is part of a wider cultural phenomenon that favours quieter, sophisticated fare, as witnessed by the critical success of the silent movie “The Artist” and the current dearth of loud rock music! (Why Sommeliers are the New Restaurant Stars by Jay McInerney, The Wall Street Journal 25 February 2005)

Their observations resonated when I was researching the understated yet gorgeously complex Savaterre Chardonnay, which yields from a family-owned vineyard perched on a ridge looking out to the picturesque Victorian alps in Beechworth, Victoria.

Interestingly, the Savaterre website lists the names of  Australian restaurants which feature its wine on their lists. It reads like a who’s who of country’s best: Tetsuya, Guillame at Bennelong, Vue de Monde, to name just a few.

According to McInerney, sommeliers tend to prefer wines that display freshness and balance over power and concentration because they work better with food.

Crisp, clean, complex and elegant are words commonly used to describe  the Savaterre Chardonnay.  Little wonder then that it’s a top pick for the very best fine wine lists!

It is also a wine that ages beautifully. I was very fortunate, courtesy of David, to enjoy a bottle of the Savaterre Chardonnay 2004 over Christmas. It was a brilliant example of the ageing potential of beautifully made Australian chardonnays. Still light in colour, a delightfully fresh bouquet slowly revealed nuanced aromas of stoned fruit, citrus and hazenuts as … Read the rest