Sugarloaf Ridge 2007 releases absolute blinders!
Sugarloaf Ridge vineyard view

Originally intended to be part of my larger project “Australia Benchmark Chardonnay Producers” I am sure readers will not mind if I include chardonnay’s soul mate, pinot noir in this coverage of new releases from Sugarloaf Ridge. The 2007 Sugarloaf Ridge Chardonnay is indeed a blinder, nothing short of exemplary and in my view, the benchmark for Tasmania.

In the late 1950’s Jean Miguet at La Provence, east of Launceston and Claudio Alcorso at Morilla Estate near Hobart, pioneered the renaissance of Tasmanian wine industry. The late 1960’s and 70’s saw the establishment of Graham Wiltshire’s Heemskerk vineyard on the Tamar, followed by Andrew Pirie at Pipers Brook, north of Launceston and Freycinet Vineyard on the Eastcoast in the early 80’s; the suitability and reputation of chardonnay in the cool-climate of Tasmania was slowly chiselled.

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Peccavi Chardonnay 2008 Margaret River, Western Australia
Peccavi Chardonnay

Our wandering palate cruises down the Margaret River, discovers the pleasures of sin.

The chardonnay crusade continues with a stunner from Peccavi vineyard, raising the stakes among the heavyweights and proven form of Margaret River, Western Australia.

There is a certain expectation of Margaret River chardonnays, both in terms of a fleshy, juicy, intense style and reputation for exemplary quality with the bar set high by well-established icon producers such as Brookland Valley, Cullen, Leeuwin Estate, Moss Wood and Pierro.

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Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay 2007 Margaret River, Western Australia
Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay 2007

The ‘Wandering Palate’ examines the evolution of white wine consumption in Asia with an inclination towards chardonnay.

As wine consumerism trends evolve in Asia, it is interesting how some of the fashions that profoundly affected the world wine stage in the past have completely eluded the wider Asian market.

You may recall the ABC (anything but chardonnay) syndrome. Well this is practically irrelevant in the Asia market, unless you want to change it to ‘another brilliant chardonnay’, as that is exactly the state of play with the Asian palate embracing the lustre of the variety.

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Another Brilliant Chardonnay!

Australia’s Benchmark Chardonnay Producers

I have to admit this piece has been work-in-progress for over a year now, originally titled “Australian chardonnay on the comeback trail”. Inspired at the time by tasting in succession, the then new releases of TarraWarra Reserve Chardonnay, Grosset Piccadilly Chardonnay and Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay, all consummates wines that define the calibre of Australian chardonnay at the present time.

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Neudorf crew toast Tim and Judy’s 30 vintage

Congratulations to Tim and Judy Finn and their team in reaching this significant milestone.

Thirty years is a lifetimes work and when you have started a vineyard from scratch in a region that has had no viticultural history, realizing the vision takes an unyielding resolve to overcome the many challenges of nature and human-nature in an uncharted path of discovery and evolution. Tim Finn says it was about 1991 that they started to realise the full potential of the Neudorf vineyard which in some ways you could attribute to vine age and selection (that is the right grapes for the site) although I suspect considerable hands-on experience was starting to really show results.

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