The warm 2015 spring had the vines flowering in late October, ensuring that vintage 2016 started on 19th February – pretty early! But the summer had been kind and devoid of any long-lasting heat spikes, so the Chardonnay fruit was in terrific condition, and even a tiny bit more plentiful than the previous couple of years. This wine retains beautiful fruit but still has some lovely mid palate weight. Treatment of the grapes is light-handed. The whole bunches are picked by hand then destemmed straight to the airbag press. After settling the juice off the heaviest of lees, the wine begins fermentation in tank before being transferred to barrel for the majority of the fermentation process. About 25% new French oak is used, the rest a mixture of older barrels. The wine then ages on the lees, but without stirring. The 2016 had 25% malolactic fermentation, an amount that varies each year depending on the naturally occurring malic acid levels. True to the Wantirna style, the 2016 Isabella is already drinking well, but will certainly age gracefully.