An Adelaide Hills pioneer at the top of their game, this is a standout release from Shaw + Smith’s home vineyard, with intense stone fruit, complex smoky barrel notes and minerals taking the lead.
On the nose there’s a bright lift of white stone fruit, smoky minerals, matchstick, peach skin, lemon pith and classy toasty oak. There’s ample fruit and generally forward, pleasing ripeness with all the trappings of serious chardonnay, but there’s drive, brightness and a real zip of acidity, which is sheathed in satiny texture.
Themes of this wine
With an explosion of interest over the last few decades, chardonnay is now the world’s most planted white grape. With its ability to grow in varied conditions and make everything from sparkling wine, to lean and mineral whites, to full-bodied textural expressions, it is perhaps no surprise to see Burgundy’s key white grape become so dominant.
The Adelaide Hills is a young winegrowing region by South Australian standards, but it is a richly fertile one. The push to plant vines in the Hills was led by some of Australia’s most established and famous names – Croser, Henschke, Shaw and Smith, Knappstein, Weaver – and while they are all still very much major players, the Hills has also been a hotbed for the avant-garde, being the cradle of the natural wine movement in this country. Today, that lo-fi, organic-centric movement – with Basket Range as its spiritual home – has flourished, and it happily shares space with the established order. There are now over 50 cellar doors in the Hills, and it is also well served with restaurants.
The Adelaide Hills has two official subregions, Lenswood and Piccadilly Valley, with the former to the north and the latter extending south. The midpoint, where they share a small border, has Basket Range to the west, with the larger region extending around and beyond both subregions. Both Piccadilly Valley and Lenswood have the highest and coolest sites in the Hills, with chardonnay, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc the key varieties.