In 2015 a decision was made to produce two distinct Chardonnay wines from the same block; (The Chardonnay) and a Reserve style with longer oak ageing, a higher proportion of new oak and two picking passes. Our sixth release, from 2021, refines the style.
The fruit is sourced from a single vineyard block in the Kuitpo region of the Adelaide Hills (where the Coates winery based). A cool climate location ensures that the grapes have an elegance of flavour and good natural acidity that we seek to preserve in the finished wine. The Reserve Chardonnay uses hand picked fruit from two harvest times; an earlier pick to maintain a taut acid backbone and minerality with a later pick to capture subtle tropical fruit and riper stone fruit characters.
Our winemaking style is traditional with a gentle enclosed bag pressing of the fruit with a 550/L tonne extraction. As a small winery, we have gone to the expense of purchasing our own new 3000L Puleo enclosed tank press to provide control over the pressing and oxidation of the white juice during vintage. The Chardonnay juice was natural yeast fermented with fine solids in new (60%) and second use (40%) barriques from the Dargaud & Jaegle, Nadalie and Chassin cooperages then aged on lees without racking for sixteen months. Malo was allowed to proceed, and the wine was matured with minimal battonage. Blended and bottled unfined and unfiltered in July of 2022. The Adelaide Hills Chardonnay is a tight, structured style and will be best from 2023 and drinking well until 2030.
Mid straw in colour with a hint of green to the hue. Elegant aromas showcase citrus fruits in the company of fragrant notes of pineapple and guava; accents of spice and toast add to the complexity. The palate is in the medium-bodied in style, an initial burst of lemon and white peach flavours is followed by savoury oak and hints of brioche and shortbread. A lingering length of persistence supported by a taut acid backbone.
Reviews (Vintage 2020)
Score 95 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Erin Larkin)
This 2020 The Reserve Chardonnay is very, very good. In terms of a contrast between this and the (estate) Chardonnay, they are from the same vineyard, however this is picked over two picks and spends a longer time in a higher proportion of new French oak (60%). As with all the wines at Coates, this sees minimal intervention, wild ferment, low sulfur and everything done in-house (including bottling, under 500 dozen). So, to the wine. This is savory, flinty and layered with curry leaf and brine, red apple skins and yellow peach. In the mouth, the acidity is juicy and succulent and frankly delicious—it permeates and enlivens every corner of the fruit and makes for deeply pleasurable drinking. The fruit is creamy and resplendent with crushed nuts and brine. All very, very good things indeed. Yes.
Score 96 James Halliday Wine Companion (Ned Goodwin MW)
Very high-quality chardonnay here. A warm year, not without its challenges. But in these hands, stone-fruit accents stream long, corralled by classy vanilla-pod oak and crunchy acidity. Plenty of dried porcini, toasted hazelnut and nougatine at its core. A wine that feels latent; reticent even, despite its power, persistence and length. This will age well.