Saturday, March 25, 2023

Petaluma Chardonnay, 1984

Brian Croser, a noted Australian winemaker, was proud of this Chardonnay when he bottled it in November of 1985. The fruit, half from Clare and half from Coonawarra, was of "outstanding quality," as he saw it, as a result of the "moderate temperatures of the ripening season and the ideal harvesting season." He aged the blended wine for one year in new Limousin oak barrels and wrote on the label that "the wine will benefit from a further five years bottle age." Almost 40 years later, I think Croser would still be proud of what he created. And rightfully so.

Very deep old gold as to be expected from a white wine of this vintage. Almost an orange or rose color. But neither I nor Donna find any notes of oxidation or maderization in the smells and flavors. Pear, apple, minerals and oak. Delightful from front to back. Plenty of oak, but it is well integrated into the beautiful fruit. Still some fresh citric acidity to balance the ripe fruit. No need to make comparisons from elsewhere in the world; this is simply good Australian Chardonnay, one oif the best I have had the pleasure to taste.

I bought a case of this Petaluma Chardonnaty when it was released in 1985, and we enjoyed many bottles during its first decade. The two bottles that were left then became neglected in the cellar, since I thought they must be seriously over the hill. As I learned long ago, never give up on a wine, even a white wine, until you at least give it a try.

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