Kooyong ‘Clonale’ 2011 Chardonnay – Design Desired

Well it was only a matter of time really, there has been something missing, a feeling really, a bit like gazing at your pet dog, while it’s licking its lips with a satisfied look on its face, and there appears to be 2 pieces of the 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle missing. You want to search, you just don’t know if you like the consequences.  I’ve been pushing it back, building bikes, riding them, playing hockey, making non chardonnay drinking acquaintances, drinking ‘other’ wines, writing about them even, but it’s there, a niggle, a faint spark. I tried to go cold turkey since the tap was abruptly shut off from whence I moved from the ‘west’, the result however, is as predictable as the flavour on my pizza shapes. I like Chardonnay; we are involved, I was ruined early though, the second the Grand Cru Montrachet passed my lips, it was over. Knowing this, take most of what I say about my beloved Chards with that in mind, I have an open heart, but a demanding one.

A woman once dear to me said you have to suffer for your art, ok, drinking wine isn’t art, but let us just run with it. It was 2005, the neo-metro’s, (let’s call them the anti-hipsters), were all practicing their pronunciation of Viognier (Vi-ohn-yay), and discovering this amazing thing called Pinot Gris. The Anything But Chardonnay Crew, had driven the movement underground, we were hosting Chardonnay wine dinners with select friends, and masquerading them as Herbalife functions on our MySpace. It was uncool, but we stuck together, huddled around the flame of devotion to the cause, and we were right – the anti-hipsters eventually couldn’t figure out their elocution, Sauvignon blanc destroyed pinot gris, and the once quiet whispers of the chardonnay birds began to return to the forest, the two towers had been silenced.

Kooyong ‘Clonale’ 2011 Chardonnay

It’s hard being a younger brother, I should know, there are expectations, boundaries, people wonder why you’re not like the ‘older’ one, things though are often closer than you think, and well, it’s just a label. This to me applies to wines as well, it can be tricky, generally you grab the second, or third tier wine, with the stars in your eyes of the big hitter.  And let’s face it Kooyong has plenty of them, whether the single vineyard series of the ‘Faultline’ or ‘Farrago’, the ‘Estate’, and then you find your way to ‘Clonale’, these are all smart wines, I remember the 2009 Estate Chardonnay in a Stelvins group tasting, mixing with well into the process with some smart 2006, Premier and Grand Cru Burgundy’s. Fair to say that I liked this wine straight of the bat, I let her warm up on the bench for a bit, I was expecting to have nostrils exploded by the usual Australian chardonnay vanilla battleaxe, but this was different. I won’t go as far as to say ‘old world’ like, but it was subtle and refined. It’s there, French oak, with toasty, nutty tones to get you interested. There is a certain elegance over her ‘western’ cousins compared to others at this price point, and let’s face it, you can throw some misguided cash at this problem, and walk out unsatisfied.

The fruit is smart with this wine, kicking in at 13%, (plus 0.5 imo), great natural, integrated acidity, and austere middle pallet, balanced with a texture malo-lactic textural feel, it has the stone fruits, ripe grapefruit, it’s all clean, almost a splash of citrus for me, which is bizarre in a malo’ed chardonnay. She is fresh, it demands some fresh fish, or seafood exploration, I’m thinking Blue Bone, with citrus brûlée blanc sauce, caramelised lime wedges, and shall we just throw some asparagus under there, with a small medallion of potato cake, to cure any starch requirements. This to me is business lunch Chardonnay in action, I like it, you like it, lets drink it, congratulate each other on the fact that we both like it, and walk away thinking that something special just happened here.

So it’s the one you meet before the big brother, but well, its younger, has less baggage, costs you less financially, uncomplicated, maybe you’ll be interested.

7.0 / 10 Sipps
$25-30 RRP


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