Wine Lists

Chardonnay to try

By Halliday Promotion

3 Jun, 2022

Chadonnay, the winemaker's grape, is incredibly versatile in style. From fresh, crisp acidity to toasty richness, here are four expressions from around the country.

Chardonnay is arguably Australia's favourite white wine. It's certainly the most widely planted white grape in the country. Jancis Robinson says it's possibly the most famous varietal of all because has no synonyms – it's name is universal.

Planted in almost every wine region in Australia, chardonnay thrives spectacularly in Margaret River, the Hunter Valley and the Yarra Valley. Here are four wines to try.

Kevin John Chardonnay

2021 Cullen Wines Kevin John Chardonnay

Light straw, gold with green tinges in colour. Mineral, white flower, mandarin, curry leaf, nutmeg on the nose, with concentrated citrus – lemon, lime, and orange – on the palate. Harvested across three weeks on biodynamic fruit and flower days, then fermented naturally in biodynamic barrels, concrete eggs and amphorae. Matured for eight months in 35 per cent new puncheons before bottling without fining or filtration. The palate is long, which right now is tightly wound, some funk and matchstick taking this wine to a beautiful complex chardonnay heaven, poised now to open its song to the world and tell its story to all who partake in the drinking.

Winemaker Vanya Cullen says: The Kevin John is best paired with fresh West Australian dhufish, or other firm, white fish. 

H. In terms of style, what drives your chardonnay? 
VC. Our chardonnay has a citrus element in the flavour – citrus, grapefruit, dried pear, a little orange blossom and a touch of ginger. The key is the minerality on the palate, and acid the drive which goes from the front to the back of the palate. It brings incredible texture from the fruit and minimal intervention. Each vintage is different, yet the character of the Cullen vineyard comes through. You can see that line of place in the wines and the vintages.

RRP $160 | Drink to 2042 |

Flowstone chardonnay

2019 Flowstone Chardonnay

This chardonnay is white-gold, with limpid green hues. Stonefruits, roasted hazelnuts, beurre bosc pears, pink grapefruit, and pastries, with hints of honeysuckle on the nose – a complex expression of southern Margaret River chardonnay. This wine shows a magical combination of textures and complex flavours, white retaining a lightness. With a perfect balance of generous fruit, seamless oak, and a refined chalky acid finish. The flavours apparent on the nose are reflected on the palate. They are generous, but not heavy. Full, but not rich. This wine walks the tightrope of beautiful texture, flavour and delicacy. The balance is something to behold. This is a serious chardonnay of complexity and balance, while retaining an elegantly structured palate. It drinks beautifully now, and will do so for at least the next 10 years.

Winemaker Stuart Pym says: This wine pairs best with barbecued crayfish tails served with garlic butter. Try the 2019 with salmon fish cakes drizzled with honey and butter, complete with a side of steamed vegetables.

H. In terms of style, what drives your chardonnay? 
SP. Margaret River does grow grapes with bold fruit presence, and all the wines represent that. This wine comes from a vineyard I lease in Karridale, the coolest part of the region. As a result, it has that Margaret River signature, but carries some restraint and elegance. The fermentation and storage in French oak adds texture and complexity.

RRP $36 | Drink to 2040 |

Winmark Chardonnay

2021 Winmark Chardonnay 72

This chardonnay is opulent. The creamy palate is underpinned by a beautiful line of acidity and a long lingering finish. Hand-harvested and whole bunch pressed, the precious fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast and spent 11 months in French oak. With careful cellaring this chardonnay will continue to develop beautifully, or enjoy the youthful vibrancy that's in the glass now.

Owner and vigneron Karin Adcock and winemaker John Belsham say: Pair this chardonnay with rich seafood, and all the classics.

H. In terms of style, what drives your chardonnay?
KA & JB. Harmony, texture, depth, concentration and focus are the foundations of each chardonnay we make. We don't attempt to impart a style on chardonnay; our role is to allow the wine to express its personality while ensuring purity and integrity.

RRP $89 | Drink to 2037 |

Yering Station chardonnay

2021 Yering Station Estate Chardonnay

Yellow and pink citrus build into fleshy stone fruits with a juicy yet mouth-watering acidity. Hazelnut, toast and white florals dot the landscape. Lovely texture and weight is offered from barrel fermentation, bringing balance. The 2021 finishes with wonderful length and a taut finish that will relax further over the next five years.

Winemaker Brendan Hawker says: Pair this chardonnay with washed rind cheeses and quince paste.

H. In terms of style, what drives your chardonnay? 
BH. Our chardonnay is firmly in the modern Australian style, with avoiding malolactic fermentation to maintain brighter acidities, but also barrel fermenting with high juice solids to promote increased weight and texture. We always aim to hit a sweet spot of good flavour development with lower maturity harvest.

RRP $40 | Drink to 2027+ |

Learn more about chardonnay in our essential guide.
This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with the featured wineries.
Top image credit: Cullen Wines.