Richer and denser than previous releases, but with the layered detail that epitomises the Luke Lambert style. We always find this wine to be difficult to describe, as it is a wine of interwoven styles. This is not classically Yarra Valley, nor is it avante gard, it is quite simply Luke Lambert. Fleshy and luxurious, with citrus and stone fruit, flecked with cream, spice, lemon curd and an almost chalky/salty textural minerality. Every sip is a new sensation, as the boys from Belrose would say. New flavours, textures and combinations evolve as we allowed the wine to breathe and unwind. So much better than the trendy, skinny, wanna be something your not Chardonnay’s so beloved by sommeliers these days. Terrific expression, remarkable value and for us, a cornerstone Australian Chardonnay. Waters Wine Co.
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.