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Huon Hooke's Chardomaniacs

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Huon Hooke refers to the Toolangi 2007 Reserve Chardonnay as one of the most complex and deliriously hedonistic, chardonnays I've drunk in years. Hooke has written an excellent article in the Sydney Morning Herald explaining the shift occurring in Australian chardonnay styles.

"Another rich style I like is Toolangi, of the Yarra Valley. The owner, Garry Hounsell, has a unique approach: he produces three wines off his single 12-hectare vineyard and employs three winemakers with vastly contrasting approaches to make them. The result is three nicely differentiated styles, all of them excellent.

The entry-level $25 wine is made in large licks by Yering Station (where Willy Lunn has succeeded Tom Carson as winemaker) - about 3500 dozen. Even this very affordable wine is a lovely, rich and quite complex style and the latest release 2009 (13.2 per cent alcohol) should satisfy the most exacting ''chardomaniac''.

The Estate bottling is made by David Bicknell at Oakridge, a leader in lower-alcohol chardonnay. The 2007 is current at $50 and is a typical Bicknell - tight, refined style with 12.5 per cent alcohol. Hounsell rates it very highly. The Reserve, also a 2007 vintage ($90), is made by Giaconda's Rick Kinzbrunner in his typically riper style with 14.2 per cent alcohol. It's one of the biggest, but also the most complex and deliriously hedonistic, chardonnays I've drunk in years, with masses of roast hazelnut and creme brulee toffee/caramel notes. It demands rich food such as buttery lobster or creamy roast chicken. I love it."


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