Chandon Blanc de Blancs 2012
In Champagne, Chardonnay represents the lesser variety by area, with the majority of Blanc de Blancs made from the famous Cote des Blancs appellation to the south of Epernay. Whilst there are finer points of variation across the Cote des Blancs, it shares a common Cretaceous chalk soil and faces towards the east.
By contrast, this Chandon Blanc de Blancs comes from two particular locations in the premier sparkling regions of Victoria. Specifically, the Upper Yarra Valley and the Whitlands Plateau in the King Valley. Each region is at the coolest extreme for viticulture in Victoria, and each shares a similar deep volcanic clay loam soil of comparable geological history. This permits the growing of grapes with a truly Australian signature, making it possible to craft Blanc de Blancs wines with profoundly different flavours to those grown in Champagne, such as pear blossom, jasmine florals and baked granny smith apple which are unique in Australian Chardonnay.
Blanc de Blancs
On opening the wine presents with pale colour and extremely fine bead and mousse. Delicate and refined aromatics of green apple, honeysuckle, kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass overlay nougat and fresh crème anglaise characters. The palate echoes the same orchard fruits and florals of the nose, with yeast elements in the background. Zesty, long, fine mineral acidity is balanced with subtle bottle age characters and a creamy palate texture.
Vineyards in the Upper Yarra Valley and Whitlands Plateau bring powerful fruit elements to the wine, alongside fine natural acidity and palate length. At 250m and 820m elevation respectively, the altitude of these vineyards brings cool nights, allowing the slow development of Chardonnay flavours while retaining terrific natural acidity.
A cool, wet spring led to dry weather by late summer but the growing season remained cooler than average. Cold nights improved acid retention in the grapes and low crops levels were delivered by vineyards in the Yarra Valley and Whitlands Plateau. Careful attention to canopy management by the viticulturist throughout the ripening period resulted in Chardonnay grapes, harvested in March 2012, showing delicate fruit profiles and fine acid structures.
Upper Yarra Valley Chardonnay grapes were picked on 24th February at 10.5° baumé during the cooler parts of the day to preserve the quality and freshness of the juice. Reflecting the cooler, more elevated vineyard location, the Whitlands Plateau Chardonnay grapes were picked on the 20th March. The Chardonnay grapes from each site were pressed and fermented separately to ensure the unique characteristics of each parcel of fruit were retained. Each individual Chardonnay cuvée was then selected for its diverse varietal flavours, balanced structure and palate length, all essential for the Chandon Blanc de Blancs style. Following tirage and secondary fermentation, the Chandon Blanc de Blancs 2012 spent over 36 months ageing on yeast, an essential part of the méthode traditionnelle process.
Food Pairing Notes
Sea urchin; Port Phillip Bay mussels with creamy tarragon sauce; Scallops with Thai basil.