Holyman Chardonnay 2009 (Tamar Valley, Tas)
12.5%, Screwcap, $45
|Holyman Chardonnay. Clever|
Tasmania really is sitting at the pointy end of cool climate wine production in Australia. It’s like an epicentre of wine excitement, a hotbed of vinous glory, with great wine flowing out of the apple isle almost like magic. In fact, perhaps the only thing working against Tassie’s global reputation is a matter of scale, with little outside of the sparkling focused producers – Jansz, Clover Hill, Bay of Fires etc – sitting above ’boutique’ size.
The positives of such a focused, ’boutique’ predilection is that the wines are generally made by smaller, passionate hands-on operations with a distinct leaning toward more ‘premium’ quality booze. The flipside of course is that there is less of said wines, they’re higher priced and often rather hard to track down (particularly here on the mainland).
If you want a classic example of the sort of goodies that Tasmania can produce, then look no further than this Holyman Chardonnay. Made by Joe Holyman at his Tamar Valley winery, this is produced off vines that are now almost 25 years young (which is rather old indeed for the Tamar) and crafted in a thoroughly modern fashion. Think vineyard selections, whole bunch pressing, wild ferments and careful oak. Attentive winemaking and great grapes.
In the glass it looks thoroughly modern too, walking the tightrope balancing out acidity, underplayed fruit and oak, layered with some yeast derived complexity for good measure. At first I thought it leaned too far towards the sexy, spicy oatmeal oak and grapefruit acid style, but as it warmed in the glass the white peach fruit pulled everything back into equilibrium again.
A tight, restrained and very well formed wine, the beauty here is just how linear that acidity looks, an utterly natural expression of just ripe Chardonnay fruit and a steady winemaking hand. All it needs is just a little more time to put on weight in the bottle and it will be a megastar. 18.2/93+
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