23 August 2023 |
Robert Parker The Wine Advocate reviews a vertical of Palladian Chardonnay
Here at FGE we value everyone who takes an interest in our wine, especially those who share their views via the media, and we are particularly proud of the commentary coming out of the prestigious Robert Parker Wine Advocate in August 2023 around our premier-tier Palladian Chardonnay. In short, The Wine Advocate has, in a vertical assessment of the past six Palladian Chardonnay vintages, provided a ringing endorsement of everything we strive for here, both in the vineyard and the winery.
TWA’s only Australian reviewer, Erin Larkin, knows our wines, our history and our vineyard, which makes the observations she shared with The Advocate’s international audience particularly gratifying. Rating five of the past six vintages in the 96-100 points bracket (“Extraordinary”) and the sixth - 2022 - at 95 points (“Outstanding”) Larkin summarised the wine thus: “The Palladian Chardonnay is a singularly classy, sleek, refined Chardonnay from Wilyabrup, and the vertical proved this stance. It's a lovely lens for the seasons and is aging gracefully. Very smart wines.”
More broadly, Larkin states: “Under the winemaking direction of Clive Otto, Fraser Gallop has built their reputation on the quality of their Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. I would say the house style is refined and elegant across all varieties. The 2021 Palladian Chardonnay was an astoundingly pure, crystalline, sleek example of Margaret River Chardonnay. It took my breath away.”
Robert Parker Wine Advocate describes itself as the world’s premier independent wine buyer’s website with a database of more than 450,000 tasting notes, scores and reviews from professional critics around the world. For over 40 years, Robert Parker Wine Advocate (a part of the MICHELIN Group of companies) has been the global leader and independent consumer’s guide to fine wine, with its 100-point rating system and in-depth coverage of major wine regions. Needless to say we are delighted by the recognition of such as prestigious arbiter in the world of fine wine. Erin Larkin joined TWA as “Australian reviewer” in 2022.
We make only 3 puncheon barrels of Palladian Chardonnay each year. It’s a rare bird. Palladian wines are a pure expression of the finest grapes selected from the best performing rows of our single vineyard.
Palladian Chardonnay 2022
The Palladian style of Chardonnay is glassy, pristine and eminently classy. They are sleek in their exposition of phenolics in the mouth, streamlined in the outlay of fruit flavor and threaded together with invisible acidity in the mouth—juicy and fine. So, the 2022 vintage in Margaret River was warm, flooded with sunshine and punctuated by several heat events through December and January. As a result, we are likely to see many Chardonnays, in particular, that feature alcohols on par with 2021 (a cool season—i.e., 2022 was in many cases picked earlier to mitigate the warmth of the season and to preserve the natural acidity that was undoubtedly softer this season than in many, due to the warmer overnight temperatures) and typified by powerful, generous fruit. Here, the 2022 Palladian Chardonnay is everything we expect from the house style and the vintage in combination. It has powerful, fluffy, enveloping fruit encased in very fine (soft!) acidity, shaped by sleek phenolics. So good! A time capsule. This was made with 100% Gin Gin fruit and 100% new French oak and is 100% delicious. 13.% alcohol, sealed under screw cap.
Palladian Chardonnay 2021
The 2021 Palladian Chardonnay is a svelte, sapid iteration of Chardonnay from this region, showing us a peacock-tail splay of acid, fruit and phenolics—each in perfect tension with the others. There are notes of crushed nuts, white peach, layers of brine, sandalwood, saffron curls and orange blossom. What a wine! This is only getting better with age. Superb. The 2021 season was cool, and the Chardonnay wines are precise and focused. Here, so intense! Achingly so. 12.5% alcohol, sealed under screw cap.
Under the winemaking direction of Clive Otto, Fraser Gallop has built their reputation on the quality of their Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. I would say the house style is refined and elegant across all varieties. The 2021 Palladian Chardonnay was an astoundingly pure, crystalline, sleep example of Margaret River Chardonnay. It took my breath away.
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Palladian Chardonnay 2020
In this six-vintage vertical (2022 - 2017), the 2020 Palladian Chardonnay stands apart aromatically, with hints of dried straw, lemongrass, layers of preserved citrus and even turmeric. Smoked almonds and sandalwood emerge in the mouth along with fleshy yellow peach. It is complex and ripe, and the palate shows a superb phenolic richness and sapid fruit core. Superstar. While I think the 2021 is a slightly better wine (reflected in my score), if you asked me which wine I'd prefer to drink, right now, I'd say this without question. Totally seductive and succulent. A beauty. Getting better, too. 12.5% alcohol, sealed under screw cap.
Palladian Chardonnay 2019
The 2019 vintage in Margaret was a lovely one! It was cool and wet but generally well-handled in the vineyards and responsible for wines that are poised, detailed and aromatic. I love the 2019s, on the whole. The 2019 Palladian Chardonnay leads with preserved citrus, blueberry, white peach, green apple, layers of exotic spice and brine, sandalwood, turmeric and saffron. The fruit is intense in the mouth and spicy too. There is a hint of guava through the finish. This is another lovely wine. 12% alcohol, sealed under screw cap.
Palladian Chardonnay 2018
The 2018 vintage in Margaret River will go down as one of the greats. It has met veiled criticism in the years since its release, for being too ripe, too powerful, etc. That is a stylistic call that you are free to make for yourself, however it is important to note that out in the vineyards during the growing season, the weather could hardly have been more favorable. On top of a complete lack of weather events that can lead to viticultural pressure, the surrounding marri trees were loaded with blossoms, reducing bird pressure as well. All told, it was a pretty sensational season. The wines have showed that in bottle, in their power, grace and balance. So, this 2018 Palladian Chardonnay shows all of the ripe plushness of the season, in its exotic and opulent outlay of fruit in the mouth. There is star anise and cut fennel, crushed nuts and brine, layers of ripe stone fruit and even a hint of loquat and lemongrass through the finish. The lingering impression is of Indian spices—cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon. The most impressive part about this wine is the length of flavor that dominates the mouth long after the wine is gone. 13.5% alcohol, sealed under screw cap.
Palladian Chardonnay 2017
The 2017 season in Margaret River was cool and wet, and it threw up many viticultural challenges for producers. On the whole, I far prefer the Chardonnays from this year than the Cabernets, although that is of course a generalization and prone to exception. The 2017 Palladian Chardonnay is toasty and rich, with notes of buttered toast, custard powder, fresh pretzel, crushed nuts (toasted cashews, predominantly), yellow peach and nashi pear. In the mouth, the exotic Indian spice comes to the fore, with saffron, turmeric, fennel and sea salt among the front runners. There is so much going on here: a testament to the agile negotiation required by the season.