Stefano Lubiana Collina Chardonnay 2014
There is just 51 dozen of this Chardonnay in existence or 612 bottles. That’s very very small numbers in the scheme of things – just 459 litres, which is less than a single hogshead of wine. Or working backwards, less than a tonne of grapes.
It always blows my mind when I look at production numbers like that and then place it in the context of great wines of the world. Chateau Lafite apparently produces up to 22,000 dozen of their grand vin ! Though for a more accurate analogue in volume terms perhaps you’ve got to look at Grand Cru Burgundy. Domaine Romanee Conti produces circa 3,000 bottles of Montrachet Grand Cru, and that’s a unicorn wine.
Anyway, I digress. This mega Chardonnay is interesting, at the least. Made only in the best years, it’s a best barrels blend of Steve Lubiana’s best Tassie Chardonnay juice that is deliberately held back before release.
I feel like it needs the bottle age too, as it is still so achingly backward.
Speaking of Burgundy, there’s some sulphide funk on the nose here, with a little Sao too. It all cloaks a palate that is ultra tight, linear but perhaps too lean. Layers of flavour, the acidity always threatening to take over, but never getting to the point where it becomes too tight. Instead, it’s one of those wines that just unfurls in the glass, with complexity just waiting to reveal itself.
It’s not necessarily an easy drinking wine but it is provocative. More than meets the eye. An aged Chardonnay with time-capsule like youth, tight angles and latent power, all smouldering and suggestive, though simultaneously awkward too. A wine worth watching. Best drinking: I don’t know. I mean, I know it’s not quite there yet. But I also think that in 2 years it might be glorious. The form is there. Maybe wait for a year. 18.5/20, 94/100. 13%, $100. Would I buy it? Not necessarily. But I’m intrigued.