Chardonnay was planted at Mount Langi Ghiran in 1985 on the most eastern face of the property. This vine material is old, and its origins are largely unknown and somewhat mysterious.
This fruit typically produces Mount Langi Ghiran Blanc de Blancs sparkling; a reflection of its dazzling natural acidity and early flavor development. Now over 30 years old, these chardonnay vines are delivering beautiful fruit with great drive and generosity of flavor, with a tension that keeps building amidst the expanding fruit and subtle “Langi” spice.
In 2015, fruit on the vine looked perfect at the time of harvesting for Blanc de Blancs, and natural acidity levels were unbelievably ideal. The winemaking team decided to leave a few rows to develop greater flavour intensity and for the fruit to come in to optimum balance for table wine. One week later, those rows were hand-harvested to create our first Chardonnay since 2006..
Whole bunches were bucketed straight in to the basket press and pressed to barrel for fermentation; full solids and natural yeast. One barrel was chosen for malo-lactic fermentation as a counterbalance to the lip-smacking acidity. The wine rested on lees for 14 months with intermittent stirring – a process that helped us navigate through the whims and twists of this wine’s maturation journey.
“There were moments this wine appeared charmingly bizarre indeed, and other moments where it presented with sheer magnificence. The longer we left it in barrel, the better the wine became, and the smaller the swings of variation. Just after Christmas, the wine really began to come together and its extended time in barrel allowed it to settle to great clarity”– Ben Haines
The winemakers decided not to filter it. Just rack it straight to bottle.
“Everything was there, and taking anything way didn’t make sense.” – Ben Haines
The Spinoff Chardonnay combines a classic Chardonnay generosity and richness with a scintillating fineness; a crackle and pop of aroma, flavour and flintiness that takes you straight to Langi. All of these elements will see this wine continue to develop beautifully over the coming years in the cellar as well.
Making this wine was an exercise in patience and persistence, and enjoying the rewards for following your intuition.