A Grand Cru Chardonnay, Downunder

The Wandering Palates Terra Australis correspondent, Andrew Jenkins (Jenks) breaks silence on Australia’s most covert winery, Bass Phillip, admittedly the worst kept secret amongst undercover palates.

The Prodigy from Downunder – Phillip Jones, winemaker of Bass Phillip

Some years ago, I had some Chardonnay, in half bottles and rather liked it. I produced the wine, blind, to Brett Crittenden. He uttered words to the effect, “Grand Cru” but it can’t be because it’s Meursault. There may have been an expletive or two involved.

All these years later, I’ve had another Chardonnay from the same vineyard. I mention “vineyard” and this is important; same winemaker, but twenty years later.

Over the last two nights, I’ve been savouring the Bass Phillip Premium Chardonnay 2010. The best Australian Chardonnay I’ve had this year, by far.

I readily admit that I haven’t tasted every available Australian Chardonnay but who can do that and truly sort wheat from chaff?

Light lemony gold colour in the glass and on opening just a hint of powerful but restrained concentrated honeydew melon, cashew and simply beautiful acids. So many wines have obvious added acid, but here the acid is all the work of the vineyard; so seamlessly integrated.

Keep the secret. Not enough to go around. And while you’re keeping that secret, make sure you don’t tell anyone about the Bass Phillip ” Crown Prince” Pinot Noir 2010. This, one of the “lesser” lights in the Bass Phillip firmament, is pure essence of Pinot Noir, with sweet fruit, terrific concentration and just demands to be enjoyed.

By the way, the Chardonnay was a 1988, and like many wines, just sticks in your mind as a good memory should. And it proves the old theory, that wine is made in the vineyard, and the best wines are those where the winemaker has mature vines planted in the right place and has accumulated a deep understanding of what nature has provided over time.

Andrew Jenkins



By Andrew Jenkins | Buying Wine | Related to: , , |

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