Australia's white wine scene is a hotbed of quality, and very much on the up. The country's foremost wine communicator, Huon Hooke surveys new and established wineries, large and small, to name his top estates. As published in the Decanter July 2012 issue.
Barossa Valley, South Australia
The Penfolds team, led by Peter Gago for the past decade, has put paid to the old cliché that Penfolds is strictly a red wine company. Yattarna is firmly enthroned as one of Australia’s greatest white wines and has spawned a growing series of fine and steadily improving Chardonnays such as the Bin 311. Yattarna is a pristine, refined, high-tensile style based on the scintillating fruit flavour of Derwent Valley, southern Tasmanian grapes, while Reserve Bin is all about funky winemaking and oak supporting slightly fuller Adelaide Hills fruit. There’s a bevy of other varieties at the Cellar Reserve, Koonunga Hill and Rawson’s Retreat levels (notably Koonunga Hill Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc), while back in the so-called Luxury range there’s the super-smart Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling, from old vines at High Eden.
Penfolds, Yattarna Chardonnay 2009
Very fine and clean aromas – it’s all about pristine fruit. The oak is not obvious, nor is winemaking overly funky, in contrast to the Reserve Bin Chardonnay. This has great delicacy and refinement, subtlety and purity of fruit. Finishes with tremendous line and length. 19pts/20
Price: £70–£85 Slurp, Treasury Wine Estates