After falling out of fashion in the 90's, Chardonnay sales are on the rise with winemakers across Australia working hard to create interesting interpretations and variations of this classical varietal. Stella Bella is no stranger to this.
With Luke Jolliffe at the reins, they have created four very distinct styles of Chardonnay, each with their own personality. These wines have won numerous awards at Wine Shows through-out 2018 and continue to lead the charge into 2019.
What sparked your love of wine and wine making in the Margaret region?
Margaret River a truly unique wine growing region. Year on year, it is consistent in terms of climate. Here we have the ability to work consistently with amazing fruit that can produce world class Chardonnay, Cabernet & Cab Blends, and complex Sauvignon Blanc and SSB. It’s almost unbelievable at how well we have kept the secret of the outstanding nature of Margaret River for making wine!
Since coming on board Stella Bella, you have worked towards creating 4 unique styles of Chardonnay. Can you tell us your thought process and creativity behind these wines?
I want to show the uniqueness of the fruit we grow in the wines we make by giving them their own personality, whilst making wines that people remember ie a house style. Creativity vs consistency can sometimes be a balancing act, but I think we nail it! I am conscious of enhancing and expressing the specific unique characters of each parcel of Chardonnay that we grow and make wine from. Often I find myself thinking ‘What is that specific vineyards major positive aroma and flavour? And, how do I maximise it in the winery.’
Can you highlight the differences in your Chardonnays?
1. Otro Vino is our adventurous, creative Chardonnay…not your typical Margaret River Chardonnay, more in the style of ‘Chablis’. It shows true fruit power yet it has delicacy. Aromas of bees wax, lanoline and bath salts. High in acid but delicate on the palate. Margaret River isn’t known for delicate Chardonnay as the fruit has so much power so this is truly on its own. Light on the palate but perky fruit and a textural palate. It is a wild ferment, has no new oak and is made in 7-10 year old French barriques so there is no oak influence at all. Just the purity of the vineyards which are highlighted with no filtration or additives.
2. Stella Bella Chardonnay is our most ‘ Margaret River’ Chardonnay. Full of flavours of white nectarine, peach, stone fruit and then lime rind and grapefruit, subtle gun flint, spring water mineral acidity and beautifully balanced oak. A round textural Chardonnay with a lot of flavour.
3. Luminosa Chardonnay is a single vineyard wine from our Luminosa Vineyard in the Wallcliffe sub region of Margaret River. This wine is all about elegance and finesse. It is built around ‘pithy’ fruit flavours of lime, lemon and grapefruit pith, balanced oak, mouth-watering and addictive acidity and gunflint complexity. This wine looks subtle but is so tightly wound and the flavour and power are so well packaged that it looks elegant. There are no additions or filtration to this wine.
4. Suckfizzle Chardonnay is our most unique. A single vineyard wine from the Suckfizzle vineyard. The most unique vineyard in Margaret River. The first Suckfizzle Chard was made in 2017 and it was amazingly successful. People can really taste and smell how unique this wine is. Aromas of Oyster shell, sea spray and grapefruit pith. Incredible power, weight and length. Something you have to taste to believe.
About the Margaret River Wine Region:
Originally, thirsty European settlers of the Margaret River area in the early 1830’s planted vines to use the grapes to make table wine for family occasions. In the 1950’s American Whalers were supplied wine from Margaret River while making a trade along the Western Australia coast. However, the region remained a well-kept secret until the 1960’s when the true potential of the Margaret River suitability for viticulture was discovered.
The first Chardonnay vines were planted in the Margaret River region in the mid-1970s and started off with a big bang along the length of this beautiful stretch of coastal countryside. Within a few short years Margaret River Chardonnays were going up against the best of Burgundy and the rest of the world at international wine shows and tastings, holding their own, setting a benchmark and even beating all other entries.
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