2020 Henty Chardonnay

This single vineyard wine is grown in the ultra-cool Drumborg sub-region of Henty, in far south-west Victoria. It is planted in degraded volcanic buckshot topsoil over a permeable cracking red clay base. The vines are VSP trained and grow with moderate vigour. Far enough inland to experience continental-like cool nights, the site is also significantly influenced by its proximity to the Great Southern Ocean.

Growing Season
The 2020/2021 growing season was challenging in Henty, punctuated at critical times with highly favourable conditions: at budburst, flowering and during the strangely cool veraison in February. The season was very wet with rain events followed by more rain, cold and grey, then monsoon-like humidity just before harvest. Finally, summer arrived right as we were preparing to pick. We suspect this set of conditions will be nigh on impossible to repeat, especially the cold February. However, Chardonnay is grown in some of the coldest viticultural regions of the world, so its quality was never in doubt. 

All harvested grapes were chilled overnight before being whole-bunch-pressed into a stainless steel tank. The juice was settled for 24 hours and transferred to French barriques, of which 38% were new.

Careful management ensured the temperature of fermentation was kept cool and below 20˚C, with some gentle lees stirring (battonage) at the end of fermentation for texture.

Partial natural malolactic fermentation (MLF) occurred in barrel, with maturation on lees for 8 months prior to the best barrels selected, blended, lightly filtered and bottled.

Independent Review
“A stunning follow- up to the 2019 that once again proves the capacity of Henty to produce complex chardonnays that soar. Cool and composed with bright citrus, green apple, quince and white nectarine aromas. Contained and almost Chablis-like with its innate quiet power and delicate palate enhanced by thread of nougat textual softness. That's a wow.”

95 Points Jeni Port – James Halliday Wine Companion

(Published on 16 August 2022)