It is a highly unusual Australian Chardonnay, in that a: it was raised entirely in a single 1200-litre oval, b: 100% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation and c: it spent three years on lees! It nonetheless offers incredible tension and drive, with a freshness and energy that dances across the tongue. A powerful terroir in a cool year, a natural fermentation, aging in large-format oa...
It is a highly unusual Australian Chardonnay, in that a: it was raised entirely in a single 1200-litre oval, b: 100% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation and c: it spent three years on lees! It nonetheless offers incredible tension and drive, with a freshness and energy that dances across the tongue. A powerful terroir in a cool year, a natural fermentation, aging in large-format oak and three years nourishing on its lees - all these factors have come together to produce something very, very special. As good an S.R.H. as we have offered. Big wheels keep on turning...
"From 12 rows of chardonnay on the '76 plantings; it spent almost three years in barrique/puncheon/stainless steel tank maturation, bottled Jan '13. It is, of course, very complex, with grapefruit and stone fruit wrapped up in a fine web of oak, but has retained remarkable freshness and length."
96 Points Wine Companion
REVIEWS ON SOME PREVIOUS VINTAGES
Bannockburn S.R.H. Chardonnay 2008
Bannockburn’s Chardonnay 'tete de cuvee', the S.R.H. comes off the oldest Chardonnay vines in the Olive Tree Hill Vineyard and is named in recognition of Bannockburn’s founder, Stuart Reginald Hooper. These 12 rows of vines are dry grown with roots that are well embedded in the ancient marine sediments that form the bedrock in the area. Glover picked at 12.8 baume and fermented “wild” in 1/3 new barriques (lightly toasted Tronçais) and left the wine on gross lees, in puncheon and tank, for a full 2 years. The evolution in the elevage of this cuvee in recent years seems to be emphasising more of the overt saline/mineral characters that the site’s unique terroir brings to the wine. Earlier picking is only partially responsible and looking forward, the move towards larger format oak and even longer lees aging, not to mention return to a full malo (the 2008 is half malo) promises to showcase an even more vivid expression of terroir in this wine. While all those tweaks will be fait accompli from the 2010 vintage, until that is released we have two sensational wines to contend with. The 2009, released next year, is a ravishing, intense and savoury white cropped at a very low 1.5 kilo per vine. Today we offer the more zingy 2008. Again, site leads the way with the trademark S.R.H iodine and saline aromas hovering above split-butter and shimmering white stone fruit pulp. While its richness and depth are there to marvel at, its (completely natural) acidity effortlessly hems in the mass of fruit and provides mouth-watering length. This is an outstanding wine that stays true to the reputation of this famous label.
"This release of Bannockburn SRH Chardonnay is rich in colour, flavour, style and substance.
The fruit is both restrained and characterful but best of all, it lingers beautifully through the finish. Citrus, brine, white peach and hints of milk powder. Has a chalky, saline tang through the finish and a malty, buttery character to the oak. I could probably do without the overt oak notes but they give the wine a lushness. Some extra sex appeal perhaps. The thing is, through the finish the wine sparkles with dry pear and seashell characters and that is always a wonderful thing.'"
94 Points Wine Front, Campbell Mattinson