A case for springtime chardonnay: once reviled by a brigade shouting “Anything but chardonnay”, this former superstar of the ‘80s is back and proving the Peninsula’s most reliable of varieties. This comes down to the diversity of micro-climates across the Peninsula, matched with chardonnay’s ability to apply itself with Grand Cru success in differing climates. Consider Europe alone — Champagne, Chablis, Burgundy and even recently in Italy. You’ve got to wonder why it ever went out of fashion. Here are some of my local favourites (2018 vintage labels unavailable).
Moorooduc Estate Devil Bend Creek Chardonnay 2018 $27
The perfect wine for oysters, grilled prawns and scallops in lemon butter sauce while entertaining friends or just yourself. In fact, you could easily enjoy this mostly by yourself. It’s full and round with a peach and honey edge that has intensity and length. Offering much more than the price suggests, it’s one of the steals of the 2018 vintage from one of the pioneer producers.
Kerri Greens Pig Face Chardonnay 2018 $28
From the Kerri Greens vineyard on Paringa Rd, established in 1998. It packs a punchier style but balances this with a beautiful line of acidity that drives a refreshing and lengthy finish. Fermented wild in the barrel, which adds some complexity, and more or less handled exclusively by the two legends behind the brand — young gun winemakers Tom McCarthy, of Quealy, and Lucas Blanck, whose family have been making wine in Alsace for about 200 years.
Dexter Chardonnay 2017 $40
Few know the rolling landscapes of the Peninsula better than Tod Dexter. With stints at Yabby Lake and Stonier and now making wine under this personal label, Dexter is a master of chardonnay. Pound for pound it’s hard to find a better chardonnay in the country in this premium price point. All handpicked and whole bunch pressed then fermented into French oak puncheons. 2017 was a long and relatively cool one on the Mornington Peninsula, and that is reflective in the wine — long, cool and consistent.