2014 Clairault "Estate" Chardonnay Margaret River (Black Label) (Previously $25)

SKU #1333445 96 points James Halliday

 Both this and its '14 sibling come from estate vineyards and are made in similar fashion, yet Clairault's own notes use totally different descriptors for each. It's not a question of volume, although I think that the significantly greater volume/intensity of this wine is the difference. Strange, but then that's the everlasting fascination of wine. *Special Value Selection*  (10/2016)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2014 Estate Chardonnay is a rich, opulent wine loaded with scents of toasted hazelnut or almond layered over white peaches and grilled pineapple. It even hints at popcorn on the long, otherwise citrusy finish. It's medium to full-bodied but with ample acidity, which should give it the potential to age well through 2022. (JC)  (12/2017)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 Pale gold, almost green tinged, this is is an excellent example of why Margaret River excels at Chardonnay. It’s complex, with notes of lemon zest, orange peel, butter and exotic spices that last all the way through to the finish. It’s rich with a chalky texture and is age worthy, with enough acidity to take it long into the future. Drink now-2027. (CP)  (2/2018)

K&L Notes

93 points Wine Front: "Made from select blocks of Clairault’s Margaret River vineyards. ‘Power and the glory’ style of Chardonnay. It has impact up-front but then hones to a lengthy, almost elegant finish. Wheat, stonefruit, grapefruit and sawdusty, toasty oak. Citrus. Straw-colour suggests at the richness to come but to at the wine’s in-built finesse." Winemaker's notes: "Aromas of cut stone fruit, squeezed lemon and melon with hints of vanilla pod and eastern spice. On the palate it enters clean and precise with sophisticated lines of oyster shell, lime juice and orange blossom. Creamy oak and fine acidity lead to a crisp, lingering finish. The fruit for our Estate Chardonnay is selected from our best blocks of fruit and hand-picked. The fruit is chilled and whole-cluster pressed to retain freshness and cultivate texture and structure. The juice is settled cold and racked after 2 days, harvesting only the lightest and most delicate grape solids to further aid in textural and aromatic development. The juice is barrel fermented in 40% new, 30% 2nd fill and 30% 3rd fill French oak barriques."

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Varietal:

Chardonnay

- 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.
Country:

Australia

- 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.
Sub-Region:

Western Australia

Specific Appellation:

Margaret River