Awarded 96 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Australian Chardonnay (see blue link below).
Tolpuddle Chardonnay 2014 - Sept 2017 Decanter review
The Tolpuddle Vineyard was purchased by Michael Hill Smith MW and Martin Shaw in 2011. First planted in 1988 by Tony Jordan and Garry Crittenden with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it has since established a reputation for growing exceptional quality grapes. The vineyard took its name from the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who were transported to Australia in 1834 for starting an agrarian union. The leader of the group, George Loveless, served part of his sentence working on a property near Richmond called GlenAyr, part of which is now the Tolpuddle vineyard.
The 20-hectare, north-east facing vineyard is located in the Coal River Valley, which is in a rain shadow, so is dry but cold. The dry climate ensures there is very low disease pressure, which in turn means that grapes can be left on the vines for longer to ensure they ripen fully. The soil is light silica over sandstone and of moderate vigour, ensuring well-balanced vines. In 2006 the vineyard won the inaugural Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year award, reflecting the performance of this unique and distinguished site.
The grapes were all hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed, and fermented in French oak barriques, of which one third were new. The wine spent eight months in barrel with gentle stirring as required, then a further two months in tank on lees prior to bottling. Minimal malolactic fermentation was pursued.
An intensely aromatic nose that shows lemon peel, white blossom, wet stone and a captivating struck match note. Thrilling natural acidity courses through the palate with concentrated lemon barley, grapefruit and biscuit elements contributing weight to the body. There is intensity but also plenty of texture and verve, as well as a long finish.