Over a decade ago I sat down to dinner with a bloke that was kicking of his Yarra Valley vineyard. We talked and talked, as he explained what they have had to go through, what the plans were and, most importantly, what they wanted the wines to look like. He and his family have since gone on to create one of Australia’s most impressive site in the Yarra, selling the wines with a few zeros behind them. But what i remember most about the dinner was looking at all these other wines from other producers and having him tell me how they hoped the could achieve aspects of certain wines.
One of the wines we looked at that night was the ’05 Bannockburn Chardonnay. It wasn’t the current vintage then, it was already a few years old, but i was so impressed by how it was evolving that the next day I rushed out and grabbed a few bottles to put away.
Fast forward to 2020 and all this COVID madness, and we are suddenly allowed to have two visitors over to play. So we sat down to a few bottles of vino, and I pulled out the now 15yo Bannockburn Estate Chardonnay, a wine that was somewhere about $25-30 at the time (roughly half the price of what Leeuwin Art Chard was back then)
The wine was superb. What was surprising here was that the wine was tried beside some pretty impressive wines by two drinking partners that day. People who have very serious cellars, and wines that were the same age. Bannockburn left them all for dead. Seriously blown out of the water. and still had many years left in the bottle.
Here’s a wine that’s, still to this day, half the price of Australia’s best known Chardonnay’s and is able to age superbly, and on the day showed better than some of those world known labels. And not just because the wines hadn’t reached full maturity, or weren’t cellared well, the providence of the wines is excellent, no these wines were past their best, by a few years, yet the Bannockburn was still ticking on strong.
It shines in the glass, the fruit is still bright and fresh, the citrus notes are zippy and the acid makes the wine dance and tingle across your palate. The 15 years in the bottle has given the wine some extra depth, made the vanillin from the oak more evident, but not overwhelming. The fruit, the oak and the acidity is so perfect balanced.