From Shaw + Smith’s prospective project to consistent quality wine in the space of just a few vintages – the Tolpuddle Vineyard has come a long long way. The Chardonnay, in particular, is so very good every year that I could just phone in the review for a new vintage and then finish my beer. High scores, thanks for coming,
Actually, the biggest improvement has been seen in the Pinot Noir. Some of the early vintages looked a bit herbal and hard, but the ’17 is anything but. Evolution in practice.
The only odd thing about this pair is the price difference. Why is the Pinot $10 more per bottle? Is it because of the trophy win and the 98 point score?
Tolpuddle Chardonnay 2017
Last year’s wine was exquisitely pure and finessed, this years version is bolder, with less whipped butter and more butterscotch. It’s probably a better wine too. Complexity is the key – a second glass gives a mandarin tang and the oak is cleverly understated, with a medium bodied, delicate, acid-shaped style that takes more from Chablis than Montrachet (sorry for the French benchmark cliche), Again, a perfectly formed cool climate Chardonnay of the top echelon (and so refreshing), if still a little on the lean side.
Best drinking: I’d prefer to drink it next year, when that sprightly acid folds in more. Then it will hold for at least five years after, probably more. 18.7/20, 95/100. 13%, $73. Would I buy it? 1er Cru quality Chardonnay, for half the price. A no-brainer.
Tolpuddle Pinot Noir 2017
Spends just 9 months in barrel. Otago-esque form here – there’s that boysenberry purple edge you see in Central Pinot too. Otago via Coal River Valley. Is it a latitude thing? Anyway, this is ripe and the acid is soft but there’s a quantum of flavour. A ripe year in context with plum juiciness and a ripple of whole bunch spice, the effect ripe and full and generous. Plush, generous and immediately attractive, but there’s spice and structure and tannins. 1er Cru quality again.
Best drinking: Good now, though will appreciate a year or so in bottle. Then over five years. 18.5/20, 94/100. 13.5%, $83. Would I buy it? I like and value-wise it stacks up. But the Chardonnay I enjoyed even more.