Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of cool-climate Australian Chardonnay (Victoria and Tasmania) (see blue links below).
Brokenwood Indigo Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 - December 2017 Decanter review
Decanter review - individual reviewer comments
Established in 1970, Brokenwood Wines has evolved from a weekend venture for self-professed hobby winemakers into one of Australia’s most reputable wine labels. It was founded by a trio of Sydney-based solicitors, Tony Albert, John Beeston and James Halliday, who paid a then record price of $970 per acre for a 10-acre block in the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges. The original block was destined to be a cricket ground for the local community but was instead planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The first vintage was picked in 1973 and while none of the original partners claimed to know anything about viticulture, the wine received praise, and attracted a loyal following from the first vintage.
In 1975, a new winery was built to accommodate the growing production. Growth was steady until the boom of 1978, when six new partners joined, allowing the purchase of the nextdoor (and now famous) Graveyard Vineyard. Originally destined to be a cemetery for the Parish of Pokolbin, it was never used as such and instead planted with Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon. The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is Brokenwood’s flagship wine, which is still sourced exclusively from that one vineyard.
In the same year, Brokenwood sourced fruit from outside the Hunter Valley for the first time - Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra - which was blended with Hunter fruit to make a premium red, creating the style that has been synonymous with Brokenwood for the last 20 years. In 1982, the company extended its range to include white wines, notably the jewel of the Hunter Valley, Semillon. Brokenwood was then capable of producing high quality white wine, which, since 1983, has been a significant part of its total production. Brokenwood’s single vineyard philosophy has grown to capture the essence of its premium sites throughout Australia.
Consistently listed as a 5-star winery, Brokenwood is home to the aforementioned Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, the highly-acclaimed ILR Reserve Semillon, and the popular Cricket Pitch Range.
An almost-perfect combination of soils, aspect, vine clones and vine age on the Indigo property makes for a stunning Chardonnay with minimum winemaking input, allowing the Beechworth region and and Indigo terroir to express themselves fully. A very cold and wet winter of 2015 meant a late budburst, but set the vines up for a great spring. A warm summer did mean irrigation was necessary and picking was very condensed. The last grapes off were nearly a month ahead of previous years, but this worked out favourably as there was a heat wave in early March. Overall, 2016 was a quite excellent vintage.
Whole bunch pressing, wild ferment in new French oak have come together in spectacular fashion. The wine was fermented in 30% new French oak. with the 70% balance being older oak, from a variety of cooperages.
At Indigo, careful winemaking and being very hands-off has resulted in a perfect green tinted yellow colour. Whole bunch pressed and a wild ferment has meant excellent complexity on nose and palate. Nutty elements with distinctive Beechworth ‘oat meal’ Chardonnay lift. A vintage with low ‘struck match’ but long grapefruit flavours and tropical acidity. Perfect Chardonnay which is drinking well now but will improve with further bottle age.