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Very pale straw with a pale lime green rim. An enticingly fresh and fragrant lift – a citrus edge, leaning towards lime/lime leaf in tandem with Granny Smith apple and honeydew granita.
Background complexing aromas of creamy Greek yoghurt/ tzatziki and lanolin, no doubt arising from courting yeast lees for eight months in French barriques.
And, although one out of every two of these barriques is new, the impact of oak is barely noticeable - well-concealed and impeccably integrated.
Glossy, svelte. ‘Seamless’ may be an oft-overused descriptor,
but not with this wine. Elegant, yet profoundly powerful at the same time.
Lime and a hint of jackfruit sits well with the creamy texture. Omnipresent acidity holds court, yet it prances across the palate so gracefully. Ditto, oak.
Wonderful length, complete. Certainly, a wine of understated power and presence.
Yes, the second glass is better than the first! Magnums please. Indeed, the tempting palate of an awaited chardonnay release from the 2017 harvest that sits confidently alongside time-proven 2008 and 2011 Yattarna classics!
Since 1844, Penfolds has played a pivotal role in the evolution of winemaking with a history and heritage that profoundly reflects Australia’s journey from colonial settlement to the modern era. The stories and philosophies behind each label bring a timeless quality, making Penfolds wines special and compelling for collectors and drinkers the world over.
Launched in 1998 with the 1995 vintage, Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay was the result of one of the most comprehensive and highly publicised wine development programs ever conducted in Australia. The aspiration and independence of mind that the late Max Schubert brought to Penfolds winemaking philosophy inspired the winery to embark on the project of creating a white wine that would one day rival the standards of Penfolds Grange.Yattarna reflects Penfolds patience and continued commitment to this goal, its very name being drawn from the Aboriginal, meaning 'little by little, gradually'. Each vintage provides the opportunity to further raise the quality horizon.
Across South Australia’s premium growing regions, winter and early spring rainfall were close to the long-term average. From August, conditions became significantly drier with only a few
light spring showers recorded. Record low rainfall was recorded from September to March stretching water supplies. Warm and dry conditions encouraged early flowering and fruit-set, with rapid canopy growth. Early summer temperatures dropped
below average with no major heat waves recorded. Once harvest commenced, it progressed rapidly with most blocks of shiraz picked earlier than previous years. Although the prevailing conditions resulted in lower than anticipated yields, the quality of fruit was exceptional. A strong Penfolds vintage.
AUSTRALIA VINTAGE REPORT: The 2017 winegrape crush is estimated to be 1.93 million tonnes, based on responses received by the Wine Sector Survey 2017. This crush is 5 per cent higher than the 2016 final crush figure of 1.84 million tonnes (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Levies recorded figure). It is the third consecutive vintage where the tonnes crushed have increased.
Additional tonnes this year came relatively equally from the cool and temperate regions of Australia and the warm inland regions (Riverina, Murray Darling-Swan Hill and Riverland). However, the tonnes from the cool and temperate regions increased by 9 per cent compared to a 3 per cent increase in the warm inland regions.
Most regions recorded an increase in tonnes crushed including: Riverland, Riverina, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Clare Valley, Wrattonbully, Margaret River, King Valley, Eden Valley, Heathcote, Tasmania, Orange, Gundagai, Grampians, Hunter Valley, Hilltops, Alpine Valleys and Rutherglen.
Regions where the tonnes crushed declined in 2017 included Murray Darling-Swan Hill, Langhorne Creek, Padthaway, Adelaide Hills, Currency Creek, Goulburn Valley, Cowra, Swan District, Mount Benson, Robe and Mudgee.
The 2017 red variety crush is estimated to be 1,062,660 tonnes – an increase of 112,000 tonnes (up 12 per cent) compared with 2016. The white variety crush is estimated to be 866,970 tonnes, a decrease of 19,000 tonnes (down 2 per cent) compared with 2016. Red varieties increased their share of the crush to 55 per cent, compared with 52 per cent in 2016.
The top three red varieties by volume were Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, together accounting for 85 per cent of the total red crush. Shiraz accounted for 47 per cent of the red crush (up slightly from 2016) while the Cabernet Sauvignon share fell from 27 per cent to 26 per cent and Merlot remained at 12 per cent.
Among the whites, Chardonnay remains the dominant variety. However, its share fell from 47 per cent in 2016 to 42 per cent this year with the Chardonnay crush down 13 per cent.
2017 will also be a good year for Grenache. It’s a grape whose time has come, and has indeed been coming for a few years. It’s a warm-climate grape that does particularly well in regions such as McLaren Vale. Now that consumers have got over their strange obsession with dark colour and lots of structure in their red wines, Grenache is allowed to do what it does best: make elegant, perfumed, somewhat lighter-coloured reds that are the equivalent of the Pinot Noir of the warmer climates.
Pinot Noir is also going from strength to strength, and superb examples are coming from Tasmania, Mornington Peninsular, Macedon Ranges and cooler parts of the Yarra Valley. 2017 will be a good year for Pinot, and also for Australian wines’ cool climate regions generally.
Chardonnay is one grape where there has been a shift in style, and 2017 could see it become even more interesting. ‘As you’re well aware there’s been a trend for quite a few years for "size zero” Chardonnay, early picked, skinny and with a very strong sulphidy character,’ says Wildman. ‘The better examples of these wines have dominated at the wine shows and therefore have further driven the style (think Vasse Felix Heytesbury, Penfolds Bin A, Oakridge 864). ’However, this style of Chardonnay has come under criticism because it’s almost as if the foot has been made to fit the slipper, and they aren’t actually all that nice to drink. As a consequence, Wildman notes, there are now fewer wines in this skinny-sulphidy style being seen. ‘The pendulum seems to have swung back (rapidly) towards the middle ground, where the wines have some weight, texture and ripeness, are not afraid of some new oak, and the sulphides have been dialed back to just a whisper of struck match, making the wines not too skinny, not too fat, but "just right”.’ He reckons that as the 2016 wines hit the shelves next year this trend for more balanced wines will increase.