So it has happened, the house of Bearded Wine Man (BWM) has re-opened, the once grimy Abbotsford converted petrol station come wine store has, like much of the North, been gentrified , disinfected, sanitised. Into a place where owners of Audi’s can now feel safe in the knowledge that the worst thing that could happen to them in the car park, is that a BMW might dink their door. There it stood, shiny non-faded winery branded signs on the facade, “Now Open” stickers on the windows, and a car park full of clamouring wine rep’s wagons. Most of them inside circling over the scraps of empty fridge window placements, promo end rows, and seeing just how many ‘recommended’ signs they can hang on their product before the staff intervene. This is everything that I had come to hate about the wine game, or maybe I just wasn’t a very good wine salesman, that and ones palate integrity should come before monthly budgets.
I turned the fixie around, with each pedal stroke putting distance between be myself and the industrial winery complex behind me, I wanted the grime, the slightly sticky floor from dropped Rekorderlig ciders, squeaky wooden floors, and half cut wine barrel bargain bins. On Swan Street I found what I was looking for, attached to the blacked out hotel windows is a drive through, hidden away behind, with only enough advertising to make it look like they were trying to let people know it was open. There was a dog water bowl, and a dog attached to the end of a rope next to it. The stacked up product made it an event to get through the door, a sure test to weed the strong customers from the weak. Here, in this place I found something I was not expecting, a taste from home, and an old friend.
Lenton Brae 2010 ‘Southside’ Chardonnay
Now those that know me, also know that I am a slut for Chardonnay, and as stated in a previous reviews, before moving East I would swim in puddles of it. I feel as a variety she has the ability to show the best, and worst in terroir, and wine-making. Now Lenton Brae go back a while, one of the founding Metricup / Caves Road region mafia 20 odd years ago. They have access to some serious estate grown fruit which flows into their top tier, and this second tier Chardonnay. Known for in my opinion more fruit and acid driven wines, I was keen to get into this. Pale straw in the glass, she is showing no signs of blowing up early. The nose is peaches, stone fruit, with hints of red grapefruit, this smells lean straight off the bat. The wood work presents with the usual vanilla tones, some partial malolactic ferment, with wafts of nut, but by no mean a creamy butter monster, she has a focused and austere nose. The palate presents with a nice base of weighted fruit, the malo giving a slight creamy edge to some zesty citrus tones, with the clever oak integration creating a fine boarder for the wine to sit in around its savoury tannins.
This is a smart entry level Chardonnay from one of the founders of the Western Australian Chard scene. If you are looking for a lean, non butter-bomb to pair with your char grilled South West Marron with lemon pepper, olive oil, sitting on a watercress and orange wedge salad for lunch, then you have found it. It is enough to almost get me to fly home and raid my ex’s farms dam, almost, that and they have guns, so I might not, but you get the idea. I like this wine as a great summer seafood accompaniment with the impending festive season, well priced with a great heritage.
While not worth getting shot at for, pound for pound at 20 dollars, it is truly a steal.
7.5 / 10 Sipps