Tasting NotesThe classic note of white field flowers fills the nose with a mix of sweet perfume and herbal notes. The palate is fresh yet textural, supple and layered with nutmeal, vanilla, white fleshed peach and citrus zest that gives an overlay of richness balanced by delicate fruit flavours. The acidity remains fine and stony to add length and vitality to the palate.
CellaringA wine of fine structure, gentle fruit and bright acid, the 2017 Marchand & Burch Villages Chardonnay will evolve over the next 4 years.
As the never-ending vintage of 2017 final came to a close in early May, we reflect on a most unusual season. The cold, wet winter and spring of 2016 set the stage with budburst delayed by 3 to 4 weeks. In addition, early yield estimates were above average. Anecdotes of the very cool 2006 vintage began to circulate as summer progressed in a mild fashion. The one bright light was the comparative data of heat summation between 2006 and 2017, 2017 appearing to be warmer. But were we heading for the perfect calamity of high yields in a cool, wet season?
Fungal diseases thrived in the humid and cool conditions as the white harvest began. Careful fruit selection and some early harvesting were necessary to retain quality. Across the regions, it was evident some whites would not reach maturity and remain on the vine.
By late March the tone of the vintage was less than upbeat as the heavens opened. The reds were teetering on the edge of disaster, any further rain could turn them into slush, and our worst fears would be realised. As the mud dried, an Indian summer was desperately needed and thankfully April delivered with unseasonably dry, warm conditions throughout. This prolonged ripening phase allowed the flavours to develop fully, and the tannins to soften and integrate.
Vintage is well over now, and the outcomes are beyond our expectations. Whites have retained purity and vibrancy, and the reds stunning concentration, beautifully soft tannins and silky mouthfeel. It was worth the tension!
The Marchand & Burch Villages Chardonnay is sourced from our Mount Barrow vineyard in the Mount Barker sub region of the Great Southern .Located on the eastern or Porongurup boundary, this vineyard is dedicated to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for still and sparkling wine. The unique attributes of this site include an elevation of 380M and a panorama of vineyard aspects from north to south facing. Across the many Chardonnay blocks on Mount Barrow, a variety of clones have been planted.
The French clones of 95, 96, 277 and 76 predominate the site with smaller portions of gin gin and the American clones. The vine density on this site is 2,222 vines per hectare and the canopy a single cordon with vertical positioning of shoots.
Each batch is handpicked around 12⁰ be. The individual parcels of grapes are cooled, hand sorted then whole bunch pressed to separate the finest free run juice. In addition a light pressing cuts is taken and made separately for later blending. After minimal settling, the juices are allowed to ferment naturally in 50 % older French oak and 50% stainless steel.
The oak is composed of barriques, hogsheads and puncheons. Fermentation temperature is between 18⁰C to 22⁰C and the lees are stirred weekly from later in the fermentation until dry. The separate parcels are matured on lees in barrel and tank for 9 months and a portion of each batch undergoes malolactic conversion. The wine was blended to tank and received minimal fining and filtration prior to bottling in November 2016.
93 Points - Steven Creber
Halliday Wine Companion
93 Points - Gary Walsh
The Wine Front
92 Points - Toni Paterson
The Real Review
The Sunday Telegraph