From the Petaluma stable, this is a fantastic chardonnay. Drawing on fruit from three regions - Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills and Coonawarra, this is a blend of the three terriors. The terra rossa soil of Coonawarra lends a richness to the wine, while the cooler climate of the Adelaide Hills adds crispness and a sharper acidity to the wines. The Shale soils of the Clare give a touch of minerality to the blend giving quite a harmonised wine. I used to work with a guy, Graeme, who used to describe this wine to customers as "lemon curd on hot buttered toast" and bugger me if it isnt! A rich lemonny citrus note with buttery, yeasty flavours and a good dose of french oak. Winemaker Brian Croser is fond of the rich burgundian style of chardonnay and so the wines get a great deal of battonage. Im not a fan of "typical overoaked aussie chardonnays" but this isnt, there is plenty of oak there, dont get me wrong, but its well balanced and nicely integrated into the overall flavours. This isnt a "four by" wine ie one that tastes like being whacked in the chops by a plank of four by two. Its quite cheap too, representing really good value for money.
I understand that Croser has now sold Petaluma to Lion Nathan, and has set up a new winery down in Wrattonbully at the old Koppamurra vineyards just north of Coonawarra where Croser first got started making wine many years ago. A joint venture between himself, Jean-Michel Cazes from Lynch-Bages and Society Jacques Bollinger, parent company of Bollinger Champagne. Its now called Tapanappa and Ive just recieved six bottles of their Whalesbone Vineyard Merlot 2004 this morning. Im quite excited about it because Ive been reading rave reviews from James Halliday and Jeremy Oliver about it, and now Ive managed to get six bottles. Only 150 cases were made, so I would imaging that very little came over to the UK. Its not cheap, its ended up on the list at over £100, so its probably a good thing I only got 6!!