30 Dec 2010

We released the 2009 Squitchy Lane Chardonnay just before Christmas. The 2008 is just about sold out although we will keep a few cases for museum stock and later tastings.
Vintage conditions in 2009 were extreme to say the least. We picked the Chardonnay immediately after the record-breaking heat wave even though the  sugar levels were lower then we normally expect. In fact, the wine in the bottle is only 11.0% alcohol but it doesn't lack body or texture. Rather like good Hunter Semillon, if the fruit is properly grown in the right area then low alcohol contributes a freshness and keeps the wine in balance.
One noticeable feature of the 2009 wines is their immediacy--they are ready for drinking on release and while they will develop with a few years in the cellar, they are probably best consumed in their youth.
There is a lovely nougat-like nuttiness to this Chardonnay, accompanied by some nice wild ferment yeast characters. I know I shouldn't say it, but it does remind me of a Macon or perhaps a Pouilly-Fuisse. I think the early picking, the natural yeast ferment and the lees contact have all added extra dimensions to the wine.
It's certainly the most "approachable" Chardonnay we have made. The 2010 is more in line with the 2008 and we hope to give it at least nine months bottle ageing before release. These vintage differences are what makes wine from single vineyards so fascinating.