2012 Ad Lib (Larry Cherubino) "Hen & Chicken" Chardonnay Western Australia

SKU #1174058 94 points James Halliday

 *Special Value Selection* The highly fragrant bouquet of peach blossom and citrus zest leads into a delicious fruit-driven palate, Chardonnay purity personified. Larry Cherubino has had a particularly distinguished winemaking career...the range and quality of his wine is extraordinary, the prices irresistible.  (7/2014)

K&L Notes

Larry Cherubino is one of the most highly regarded winemakers in Australia…in fact he was recently voted (by his peers, the other top flight winemakers) into the current Top Ten Most Talented winemakers in the nation. He even won James Halliday's coveted "Winery of the Year" in 2011. His "Ad Lib" range allows you to sample his winemaking talents at very affordable prices especially since we are buying these wines at importer direct pricing! The name "Hen and Chicken" Chardonnay is in reference to the term "Hens and Chicks" commonly used to describe the uneven berry sizes associated with this particular Chardonnay clone. Known as the "Mendoza Clone" (nothing to do with Argentina!) the vine produces bunches with some normal size and some tiny little berries. The small berries give heightened concentration of flavor, acidity and excellent structure. Larry has selected this fruit from the cool ocean influenced Great Southern region where cool breezes from the ocean produce wines with excellent purity and balance. This wine is from single vineyard, planted on its own roots in 1999. The fruit is hand-picked, and wild fermented in mostly two year old French oak. The wine has juicy stone fruit with some crunchier orchard fruit characters, a lovely flinty, stony minerality and just a subtle hint of spicy oak. There is remarkable depth and concentration for such an inexpensive wine. This is hands down one of the best Chardonnay deals in the store. (Ryan Woodhouse K&L Wine Buyer)

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Price: $9.99
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By: Jim Chanteloup | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/27/2014 | Send Email
There's a lot of "bells and whistles" with this wine that defies the price point. All Mendoza clones, wild yeast fermentation and French oak. This is a Chardonnay that shows balance and restraint, with light toast, pear, stone fruit, mineral and a hint of cinnamon spice. Good acidity and structure keep the wine refreshing and each sip coming back for more.

By: Sarah Covey | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/26/2014 | Send Email
An amazing value for a delightful little wine. Apple, pear, mineral with a textural note absent in many inexpensive Chardonnay. Medium plus acidity and very quaffable!
Top Value!

By: Mellyn Craig | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/25/2014 | Send Email
This Chardonnay is a steal and just in time for the holidays! The Ad Lib “Hen and Chicken” is a fruit-forward style Chardonnay, which is bursting with stone fruits and white flower notes. There is bright acidity and minerality which freshens up the palate. I highly recommend stocking up on this wine before this gem is gone!

By: Shaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/25/2014 | Send Email
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What a price! This will be making a lot of party guests happy this year. Great medium intensity and concentration with nicely balanced acidity. The wood is there for texture only, not a big oaky component and the entirety comes off as a much more expensive wine. My go-to holiday white!
Top Value!

By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/24/2014 | Send Email
Get in while the gettin's good with this bottle. This is the best Chardonnay deal since we found the Bernier all those years ago. This is fresh, stonefruit-driven, refreshing white wine with character and nuance for $12.99. This is case wine. This is party wine. This is Thanksgiving wine. You roll into the party and people think you spend $25 a bottle because it tastes so darn good. Your secret is safe with us though. Love it.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/23/2014 | Send Email
Glass Full Glass Full Glass Full Glass Full Glass Half
Off the charts good for the money...I seriously think this is one of the best value Chards I have come across in my decade in the wine business. Lovely combination of rich orchard fruits, savory lees, flint, stony mineral tones and beautiful persistence and texture on the palate. Lovely ripeness but fresh acidity, bright drive and linear intensity. This is hard to beat even at $20.
Top Value!

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/21/2014 | Send Email
Mendoza clones, wild yeast, high solid debourbage according to my colleague Ryan W. With those data points I'm not surprised that this is really quite good! Bright, citric and tasty. The following is not hyperbole but the honest-to-god truth: there is no Chardonnay that can touch this for the price.

Additional Information:



- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.


- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world.

Western Australia

Alcohol Content (%): 13