Chardonnay 2016 Cobaw Ridge Macedon Ranges, Victoria
Alan & Nelly Cooper are a hidden gem in the Australian wine industry. Since the 1980’s they’ve been making breathtaking wines without the fan fair… but don’t tell anyone!
Sebastian Crowther, Master Sommelier
Historically Chardonnay was cultivated in an area ranging from Burgundy to Champagne in France after coming from the Saône-et-Loire Department. Unquestionably one of the most famous white grapes the world over it’s a very versatile grape that on its own doesn’t have any dominate flavours and lends itself to many different wine making techniques.
This Chardonnay sculpted by Alan and Nelly Cooper comes from the Macedon Ranges, a region that will grow in prominence over the next decade, historically living in the shadows of the other powerhouse regions of Victoria, namely the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula. The Macedon Ranges is just a short drive due North of Melbourne and as you venture further north you climb in altitude. The region is quite large and diverse as a result. Cobaw Ridge Winery is found in a northerly part of the region on a mountain of the winery’s namesake. Here the soil is quite spectacular, with large granite boulders protruding out of the landscape. It’s these features that make the unique terroir of this region and ultimately craft these special wines.
The Cooper’s meticulously look after their special patch of dirt and in 2011 they gained organic and biodynamic certification. Their main aim was to allow the vineyard to find its own balance and help the wines express their sense of place with more gusto. Tasting the wines now you have to believe in this process.
Their vines are planted at 610m above sea level and the all the grapes from this 2016 Chardonnay are hand harvested and picked when possible according to the lunar cycle. Winemaking is fairly simple and hassle free at the winery. A short press cycle is used to extract the precious juice and it is cold settled over night. The next morning the juice is racked, taking with it some of the light solids. The juice is put into barrels of 228L and 500L where it undergoes primary and secondary fermentation. 20% of these barrels are new, each year. It will spend 12 months in barrel, only being removed for the new vintage.
Full of flavour, richness and concentration while still holding onto a delightful savoury character.
Looking into the glass one see a deep straw yellow colour with a flick of gold shimmering. The nose delivers layers and layers of complexity. Fruits starting in the yellow custard apple spectrum then turning into stone fruits and finally a wisp of tropical. Pineapple, melon and ripe citrus peel. This is textbook Chardonnay on the palate, round with soft edges, it’s like getting a comforting hug. Lashings of grilled nuts, marzipan and spice backup some similar fruits that the nose delivered. The flavour is intense and long while being carried by a fine line of acidity. The important thing here is not to drink this wine too cold and the bigger the glass the better. I’ve recommended 14ºC – 16ºC so if you have it chilling in your fridge at home, pull it out well before drinking time to let it warm up. This will ensure you are seeing all that wonderful complexity and texture.