It was a busy week of Chardonnay goodness last week having attended 2 dedicated Chardonnay tastings. The first was an Australia Vs New Zealand Chardonnay tasting at Steve’s in Nedlands and the second took place in the Perth Hills.
It’s been pure bliss as I just love my Chardonnay. It’s also shown me that I still have so much to learn about my favourite grape! Which is why I love the world of wine so much, you are constantly learning. If someone ever says they know everything about wine, don’t believe them – they’re just a complete wine wanker!
The Tete a Tete a Trois (meaning a head-to-head battle between 3, I think, I did get a D in French at school!) was a workplace rivalry between the 3 winemakers at MyattsField Vineyards in the Perth Hills.
“One block of Chardonnay, Three Winemakers, Three Chardonnays” – Who doesn’t like a bit of competition right?
The Chardonnay fruit was firstly hand harvested from one block in their Perth Hills vineyard and then divided between the 3 winemakers on staff, who then set about making their best Chardonnay. The Chardonnay’s would then be judged with various audiences over the coming months.
Mr. Spittoon and I couldn’t resist tasting how the same grapes could be crafted into 3 different wines, so when MyattsField announced they were going to do a tasting last weekend we just had to go! Tickets were $15 which was an absolute bargain as it included tasting through the wines in an intimate setting in the winery, some of their oh so tasty wine sorbet and delightful nibbles pictured below!
Rachael and Josh Davenport are the owners of MyattsField and are also both fully qualified winemakers so naturally they were eager for a bit of competition. The third competitor was Josh Uren who joined Myattsfield as a winemaker in 2012. Each winemaker has a completely different background, different experiences and like us all – different tastes. Now this is where it gets interesting…
The tasting started at 3:30pm on a Saturday with a glass of the awesome MyattsField bubbles in the cellar door. We then proceeded into the winery surrounded by all the tanks and oak barrels.
The tasting was completely blind and while we were trying our way through the 3 very different Chardy’s each winemaker told us about their wine. I am so useless as I found it so hard to concentrate on tasting and writing my tasting notes without being influenced by what the winemakers were saying! Even if it was quite obvious that what was in my glass was a different wine to what the winemaker was talking about my mind was doing crazy things!
My tasting notes..
So here is what I thought of each wine. Once you get to the bottom, I’ll reveal who is who’s Chardonnay and which was my pick.
- Lemon colour with very subtle peach tints. Tropical fruit aromas of melon mango and a smidge of baking spice. On the palate it has a nice creamy mouthfeel with flavours of grapefruit pineapple and an acidic bitter bite. It had a bit of minerality bordering on a slight medicinal note. Very fresh.
- Baby yellow on the eye. Intriguing nose of oaked fruits, grapes, orchard fruits and it seemed to have an interesting coolness like that of chewing gum. Flavours cover the entire mouth with gorgeous oak and charred peach flavours. Well structured. Delicious. Elegant.
- Lemon colour on the eye with a slight green zing. Buttery, milky, creamy, white pepper, orchard fruits, rich. Nectarine, acidity, grapefruit.
Whose Chardonnay was my pick?
So my pick ended up being #2 which was Rachael’s tipple. This Chardy is named The Flyer due to her time as a flying winemaker. Josh Davenport’s was #1 and retrospectively named The Founder which leaves Josh Uren’s as #3 which is named The Factotum.
What made each wine so different…
1. The Founder Chardonnay
- Gentle pressing
- Settled and racked clear
- A cool and slow ferment in stainless steel
- Small 2% addition of Viognier juice added prior to inoculation
- Selected cultured yeast to enhance fruit & palate roundness used
- After fermentation, held cold & batonnaged by co2 sparhe
- After 6 weeks wine was racked off lees for early bottling
2. The Flyer Chardonnay
- Whole bunch pressed
- Transferred with full solids to new (and expensive) French oak barrels (theses barrels are designed to instill structure into the final product) for fermentation
- Cultured yeast used to retain as much of the delicate fruit flavours as possible
- Batonnage employed 3 times a week for the first 6 weeks of maturation, then once a week for the following 6 weeks
- Left to mature on the yeast lees for 6 months
- Minimal fining and filtration prior to bottling
3. The Factotum Chardonnay
- Whole bunch pressed
- Racked with medium solids to stainless steel tanks
- New oak staves at a rate of three-quarter new oak barrel level added
- Selected a strain of commercial yeast to accentuate apricot aromas and palate roundness
- Slow fermentation rate to retain fruit freshness
- Post ferment lees stirring maintained weekly to increase textural component
- Sulphur dioxide added after one month to inhibit malolatic fermentation
Do you understand why I love my Chardonnays so much now? This grape can be made into so many wonderful variations – each and every bottle is a new experience when it comes to Chardonnay. And if you say you don’t like Chardonnay, well bugger off then, there will be one out there that you will like whether it’s still, bubbly, sweet, dry, fruity, oaky, in-your-face or simply just easy to drink.
Rumours through the grapevine are that similar challenges for Rose, Pinot and Shiraz will be happening in the near future so stay tuned to MyattsField for more info (details below)!
Address: Union Road, Carmel WA 6076
Phone: (08) 9293 5567
Open: Friday-Sunday and Public Holidays, 11am to 5pm
Wines: Sparklings (white & rose), Verdelho, Chardonnay (Pemberton grapes), Vioginer, Merlot, Mourvedre, Durif, Tempranillo,Touriga Nacional, Cabernet blends & Fortifieds
Wine tasting cost: Free!
Food available: Wine sorbet only
Child friendly: No playground or anything but outside seating and grass area in front of cellar door
Social media: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram