One of the region’s finest Chardonnays has been awarded Best of Region at the 2016 James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge last week.
The McHenry Hohnen Calgardup Brook Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 received 96 points in the challenge, awarded by a panel of winemakers, wine writers and chaired by leading wine expert Philip Rich.
McHenry Hohnen winemaker Trent Carroll said the recognition was especially exciting given the winery’s unique approach to the drop.
“Chardonnay is a winemaker’s wine, there is a lot of room to play with the product and adjust to achieve a range of outcomes.
“Most Chardonnays are full of the winemakers’ personalities – that is, they have a lot of involvement and manipulate the product to achieve their results, there can be a bit of ego, for want of a better term.
“Our three 2015 Chardonnays all placed in the top ten at the challenge, and this was surprising given we choose to do things completely differently.
There’s a subtlety that’s rarely found in Chardonnays, and we’re really proud of what we’re able to achieve by going about it in our own way.
Mr Carroll said that all three wines were created using identical processes, right down to the cooper used for barrels.
“Every wine has exactly the same treatment, so the only difference we are getting is entirely from the soil, the vines, the tiny climate differences.
“There’s a subtlety that’s rarely found in Chardonnays, and we’re really proud of what we’re able to achieve by going about it in our own way.”
The winery’s other two single-vineyard Chardonnays, Burnside and Hazel’s Vineyard, placed third and seventh respectively with 95 points for each.
Chairman of judges Philip Rich said the structure of the contest allowed for judges to appreciate regional nuances in each of the wines.
“The sheer number of entries meant we had to assemble an additional judging panel to ensure all wines were properly assessed and the best results were reached,” Mr Rich said.
“The thing about great chardonnay is it has texture and it has length, and now it’s a wine that’s got finesse as well,” he said.