French men (or women) might be aghast if you pit sunny, Aussie Chardy against aloof, white Burgundy.
However, successful winemaking is about latitude, terroir and intelligence.
Oakridge Estate is in Yarra Valley, Australia – ‘warmer than Burgundy and cooler than Bordeaux’.
Chief winemaker and CEO, Dave Bicknell, describes his wines as having a ‘purity of flavour and balance’.
The aim is ‘Lo-Fi’ – a move away from the ‘wine by numbers, industrial approach’ that Australia (and other ‘New World’ countries) can be associated with. Dave says he wants to make ‘table wines’ without ‘muffin tops’.
Restrained fruit, elegance, moderate alcohol, skilled use of old oak, varied soils and altitude give the Chardonnays much in common with prime examples of their Burgundian counterparts.
Three recommendations are:
Oakridge Chardonnay 2010 – fuller, riper style, still elegant with a long, citrussy finsh. This is the ‘most important wine in the range’ – the main line for restaurants and bars.
Oakridge 864 Chardonnay 2010 – 35 year old vines on red soils give concentration and defined structure. Barrel ferment imparts texture. The long, linear finish accentuates the stunning yet subtle quality.
Oakridge Lieu Dit Chardonnay 2010 – Low cropped, east facing, volcanic slopes produce a round, mouthfilling style. A piercing, steely, slatey finish makes this a beautiful, clever wine. Divine. Clever people make clever wines.
Oakridge wines are available from Hard to Find Wines.
(photo – Philippe Leroyer / Flickr Creative Commons)