By Fergal Gleeson
The Streicker Chardonnay 2016 has recently won a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London. It’s noteworthy because the IWC is considered the world’s finest wine competition.
Winemaker Bruce Dukes had his first vintage with Streicker back in 2006. Bruce has spent over twenty five years in the industry including four years in Francis Ford Coppola’s famous Niebaum- Coppola winery in the Napa Valley. He is very impressed with the qualities of the Ironstone Vineyard on Caves Road, Wilyabrup where the Streicker Chardonnay comes from.
“The vineyard is like a thoroughbred,” he says “It’s got good bloodstock. The Ironstone Vineyard was planted in 1985. It has three to four times the density of vines of other vineyards and it’s planted with Gingin clones. The density of the vines moderates the temperature and slows down the winds. It has healthy soils which lead to healthy vines.”
“My whole philosophy is to understand the vineyard and the composition of the fruit,” he says. “We’re on a journey to harvest at the optimal level of ripeness so you can make a balanced wine with minimal intervention. It becomes an easy job because of the raw ingredients.”
While Margaret River Chardonnay has distinct regional characteristics there is also variation in the Chardonnay between different vineyards because of their latitude.
“The Clairault Chardonnays have a different style because they come from more southerly vineyards,” Bruce says. “They have a higher perfume and higher acidity which transfers into the wine. It’s more precise, linear and minerally. The Streicker Chardonnay from Wilyabrup has a richness and more textual generosity.”
“We’re going through a lovely phase at Margaret River. I’ve just come back from a trip to the US. The feedback from somms and the trade was that they were really embracing the vibrancy and verve as well as the fruit characters of our Chardonnay. There was a lot of excitement!”
Earlier this year Janice Robinson, the world’s leading wine critic selected five Margaret River Chardonnays as her favourites in a blind tasting of twenty two Chardonnays from around Australia and the world.
Thankfully you don’t have to be a wine expert to appreciate just how good Margaret River Chardonnay is. Have a glass. You’ll see for yourself.
This is a modified excerpt from an article that appeared in the spring edition of Your Margaret River Region Magazine