A remarkable wine in the modern Australian idiom - bright stone-fruit and honeydew melon, restrained oak and a fine line of acidity. Hand-picked, whole bunch basket- pressed, indigenous yeast ferment in brand new French oak hogsheads. Delicious.
With over 123 hectares of family-owned and run Mudgee Chardonnay vineyard under Oatley care, we have numerous expressions of the variety available to experiment with. Craigmoor's AC1 block, at 450m is perversely one of the family's lowest altitude sites. It sits in the 'golden triangle' of award-winning sites, just north of the township, adjoining the Black Shiraz and the family's old Mountain Blue plots. These 40 year old Chardonnay vines are amongst the region's oldest, on a site comprising rich red volcanic clay-loam soil peppered with quartz. The final blend for this vintage comprised just over half Craigmoor, the remainder approximately 50-50 Chardonnay Park and Woodbrook - two higher altitude (480-520m), younger sites.
The lead in to the 2010 vintage was one of the driest on record in Mudgee. This changed dramatically in the last week of December 2009 where Mudgee recorded nearly 200mm of rainfall. This unexpected event certainly brought with it some tense moments for both Viticulturists and Winemakers alike but good vineyard design saw much of the water run away and little moisture issues result. The grapes when harvested some eight weeks later, were outstanding, showing crisp clean Chardonnay fruit flavours.
We decided to harvest relatively early in the season, by hand, at just over 12 degrees baumé, capturing the brighter, more citrus-like notes of early-ripened Chardonnay. The cool grapes were whole bunch basket pressed in our small batch facility and run without clarification or fining, in other words passively oxidised, into brand new French oak hogsheads, the juice undergoing an indigenous (or wild) yeast ferment. A secondary malolactic ferment was not encouraged and we kept lees stirring to
a minimum, producing a tightly structured wine, very modern in style. After eight months, we conducted a rigorous individual barrel selection process to complete the final blend prior to bottling on site.
VINEYARD: Craigmoor AC1, Mudgee, New South Wales
BARREL AGEING: 8 months
CELLARING: 5-6 years
ALC/VOL: 12.5% RS: 1.0g/litre