Summer of Chardonnay

White wine glasses

By Fergal Gleeson

Passel Estate Chardonnay 2016                                 RRP $35

A classic Margaret River Chardonnay from rising star winery Passel Estate. This wine won a Gold medal at the Australia & NZ Boutique Wine Show 2018. There’s characteristic regional density and complexity with grapefruit, sherbet and nut flavours but it holds it’s shape.

Margaret River Chardonnays like this have great depth and can make Chardonnays from other places seem a bit flimsy. Passel offer a unique cellar door experience where you can taste their wines alongside benchmark wines from other Australian regions to understand the importance of providence. Passel also offer a cellar door wine and cheese paired tasting.


Fishbone Wines Chardonnay 2017           RRP $35

Handpicked, whole bunch pressed Chardonnay grapes spend 9 months in French oak before bottling. This wine has a beautiful perfumed nose. It smelt so good I almost didn’t want to drink it. After moving past that idiotic notion I enjoyed the peach, the creaminess of the oak and the tingling dry finish.

I could see this pairing nicely with many of the dishes at Fishbone’s Japanese Restaurant beside the cellar door. Not surprising at all given that Winemaker Stuart Pierce is a past Jimmy Watson trophy winner. Judges at the James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge agreed awarding this wine 95 points.

Domaine Naturaliste Artus Chardonnay                RRP $45

These are exciting times for Bruce Dukes. He has just purchased his own vineyard and opened a cellar door which offers charcuterie and cheese as well as his wines by the glass and the bottle. As he puts it he has “his own beautiful patch of dirt in the middle of Willyabrup!” Bruce has a long winemaking career including a stint at ‘Godfather’ France Ford Coppola’s Niebaum Coppola winery in Napa.

He founded Domaine Naturaliste in 2012. Bruce makes a number of Chardonnays all lovely in their own way but my recommendation is Artus, his top of the range Chardonnay which is both complex and pure. Wild fermentation was followed by full secondary fermentation and then aging in medium toast oak. As Bruce says “It creates it’s own journey. The lack of control is exciting!”


Aravina Estate Wildwood Reserve Chardonnay 2015      RRP $55

Aravina Estate is a major tourist destination in Margaret River, apart from the cellar door there is a restaurant, sports car gallery, a kitchen garden and the West Australian Surf Gallery. From a single vineyard site ex Houghtons Winemaker Ryan Aggiss has fashioned an impressive Chardonnay.

On the nose it smells dry, pared back and elegant. The flavours are of white grapefruit, lime with a touch of vanilla. Received an impressive 95 point from the Halliday Wine Companion. Aravina offer consistent quality across the range from the ‘A’ Series to the Reserve wines.

From Your Margaret River Region Magazine


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