Lambert’s Yarra Valley Chardonnay has traditionally been sourced from the windy, east-facing slope of the Tibooburra vineyard, a site where the poor volcanic soils (with seams of yellow clay and eroded granite) offer up the low yields and intensely flavoured berries that are essential to Lambert’s minimal-intervention style. The 2020 Chardonnay marks a slight shift in style, with Lambert now also sourcing from a second parcel of the same vineyard. This new parcel lies on a sunnier slope facing northwest, and has double the vine density and a higher proportion of red volcanic soil. This all adds more muscle and layers to the spine of the fruit from the eastern-facing slope. Both blocks are now blended, enhancing the wine’s texture while still retaining the coolness and elegance inherent in the Tibooburra DNA.
The winemaking follows Lambert’s typical approach: whole-bunch pressing; wild-yeast fermentation; old oak foudre (4,000 litre); no temperature control; zero fining or filtration; and minimal sulphur (plus occasional lees stirring for six months or so).
It’s a super release for this wine but undoubtedly more generous than in the past (and all the better for it). There are waves of generous Chardonnay fruit with ripe nectarine and creamy, lees-induced texture and then crystalline, pithy, citrus notes to close along with a hint of classy oak. It’s a wonderfully polished Chardonnay from an Australian master.