Forest Hill Block 8 Chardonnay 2009 (Mt Barker, WA)
14%, Screwcap, $45
Few acknowledge it, but Forest Hill’s original Mt Barker vineyard is still one of the oldest in WA, the Riesling plantings dating all the way back to 1965. I’m often curious as to why more is not made of this outside the wineries own marketing material. Do old vines count for less in WA? Or at least less than they do in SA, where the dogma is ‘older = better?
This particular wine is drawn from Chardonnay vines planted in the 1980s. Full wild ferment, 100% malo and 8 months in 50% new oak. Balance looks about right for a full tilt Chardonnay style too.
I thought this had only gone through partial malo actually given the latent acidity (which weighs in at a massive 9.2g/L) although you can see the grapefruit and melon fruit was picked at perfect ripeness. The winemaking is sitting atop that fruit a fraction, giving a butterscotchy edge, but that is perhaps the only qualm, plus it givens flesh to the grapefruit acid bones. Long ‘this is Chardonnay!’ finish aftertaste too.
A proper rich WA Chardonnay of weight AND acidity. Lovely wine.
Would I buy it? Absolutely. Half the price of Leeuwin Art Series? Yes please.