The 2015 vintage was awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.
The 2015 was also 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 link below).
Dawson James Chardonnay 2015 - December 2017 Decanter review
Also reminisced about in the September 2020 edition...
Dawson & James Chardonnay 2016 - September 2020 Decanter review
Dawson James is the project of Peter Dawson and Tim James, who met in 1976 when they were both working at Hardy & Sons, and where they continued to work alongside each other for 20 years. They have since moved on to different projects, including Willunga 100 in McLaren Vale for Tim, but have collaborated again to produce the Dawson & James wines in Tasmania. Their shared passion for Australian art, farming, camping and gastronomy, as well as their dedication to fine Australian wine, have combined in this exciting project, and the wines are the proof of their winemaking wisdom and enthusiasm. The wines come from the Meadowbank Vineyard, which is located around 60 kilometres north-west of Hobart, an area characterised by rugged topography and the fast flowing, pristine waters of the Derwent river.
The Meadowbank Vineyard is located in the Derwent Valley in southern Tasmania, and was planted in 1989. The site is 70 metres above the river level and the north-easterly aspect gives it optimal sunlight exposure for grape ripening. The soil is a combination of brown sandy loams over structured clays and sandstone rock. It has a devigorating nature, helping the balanced growth and structure of the vines. Vines are trellised to single cordon and managed to one bunch per shoot, and yields are kept at less than six tonnes per hectare.
Spring and summer were dry, with less rainfall than usual and the mean daily temperature 1.5°C above the long term average. These conditions favoured a good fruit set and vineyard yields were above average. Despite the warmer ripening period, there was no significant heat spikes and the grapes could retain freshness and acidity. The grapes were hand-picked on 9th March, the earliest harvest date since the project began.
On arrival at the winery, fruit was whole bunch pressed. Free run juice was transferred to oak sourced from Burgundian cooperages. Primary fermentation took place in oak, 40% of which was new. This was followed by partial malolactic fermentation. The wine remained in oak and on its lees for nine months with fortnightly stirring.
This Chardonnay has a bright pale yellow colour. The aromas are subtle creamy, nutty and toasty notes derived from barrel fermentation accompanied by zesty lemon pith fruit characters. On the palate, there are intense citrus fruit flavours which are balanced by lively acidity and mineral characters.