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Bannockburn Chardonnay 2022

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    Stuart Hooper had a vision to create a vineyard in Australia that would produce exceptional quality wines. In the early 1970s he selected a plot of land in the Moorabool Valley and planted shiraz vines. As the vineyard expanded, more land was acquired, and additional grape varieties were planted. Bannockburn Vineyards, founded by Stuart Hooper, continues to thrive today, with a commitment to quality and organic farming practices. Matt Holmes joined Bannockburn Vineyards as the winemaker in 2015, aiming to produce wines representative of the vineyard's style and site with gentle inputs and minimal additions in the winemaking process.

    Bannockburn Vineyards is comprised of 24 vineyard blocks, 8 grape varieties, and 16 clones. The soil is low-fertility with good drainage, allowing for controlled growth. Organic farming principles are followed, with the addition of compost to maintain vineyard balance. The soil variations range from volcanic surface debris to ancient sea beds, layered over limestone bedrock. The first vineyard was planted in 1974, making the vines some of the oldest in the Geelong region. The Moorabool Valley, where the vineyards are located, has an average annual rainfall of 540mm, primarily occurring in winter and spring. The region benefits from a maritime influence, resulting in mild temperatures and long sunshine hours. The stable, dry and low-humidity conditions during the grape-growing season allow for a mild and extended ripening period, ideal for healthy vines and gradual flavour development. The unique combination of meagre rainfall, low vigour soils, prevailing winds and close plantings contributes to the restricted yields and distinctive flavors and structures of Bannockburn wines.

    The quality and style on offer can be traced back to the estate’s exceptional, organically farmed sites, the Olive Tree Hill Vineyard (planted in 1976 and abutting the S.R.H parcel) and Winery Block (1981), both on volcanic soils over limestone clays with an average vine age of around 35 years. Recently, the Estate Chardonnay has also included fruit from the Kelly Lane Vineyard (Clone 76), and this release also includes a small component from Stuart’s Block.

    Whole-bunch pressed and settled overnight, the juice was then wild-fermented in a mixture of 500-litre French oak hogsheads and puncheons (20% new), with 70% undergoing malolactic. The wine spent 10 months on lees with no stirring.

    It’s an exceptional release that strikes a mouth-watering balance between fruit weight, tensile acidity and supple texture. Stone fruit flavours are complemented by richer characters and balanced by crystalline freshness, tangy grip and a lengthy, complex finish. Such a detailed and refined release.

    Pure fruit, perfect balance, lots of length. It will need time to build complexity but everything here appears to be in excellent working order. Pear, apple, grapefruit and white peach flavours come littered with seashells and smoky, cedarwood oak. Nothing is overdone; everything glides along. - Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, 94 points

    The Finer Details
    Style - White Wine
    Varietal - Chardonnay
    Country - Australia
    Region - Geelong, Victoria
    Vintage - 2022
    Bottle Size - 750ml
    ABV - 13%