Eminence Chardonnay 2009
Eminence is a small grower-producer in the high-altitude Whitlands sub-region of the King Valley in North East Victoria, between Mansfield and Whitfield.
The Whitlands is 868 meters above sea level, the alpine road leading to their vineyard is an intimidating drive with few guard-rails and spectacular Alpine Views across the King Valley. Some of the coolest vineyards in Australia are found there. It snows in Winter and is mild in summer. The average annual rainfall is more than 50 inches. A wild, challenging and unique place to create characterful, subtle and intriguing wines.
The cool climate means slower ripening resulting in higher acid levels. The fruit for the internationally famed Brown Brothers Patricia Sparkling is sourced nearby. These conditions mean grapes grown for table wines require additional weeks to ripen. The result is lower acid and more flavour concentration in the fruit. Conditions for subtle elegant wines.
David and Sharon Burder planted the vineyard at the top of the Whitlands High Plateau in 1988 to Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier. The vineyard consists of Cambrian era loam - ideal free-draining red/brown soil, and no subsoil, due to the ridge being created by an erupting volcano.
Their fruit was sold to local wineries including Redbank and Wood Park, until their ambition to make wines under their own label was realised in 2005, when they commissioned a Pinot Noir from Wood Park (John Stokes) and a Chardonnay from Pizzini Wines (Joel Pizzini) to be made from their fruit. The combination of the unique vineyard and tenured hands from the region resulted in excellent table wines trials over the following year.
In 2008 their daughter Clare developed a distinctive brand identity for the wines and Eminence was born. She juggled this with industry tastings, sales, distribution and the completion of a double degree in Winemaking and Marketing at the University of Adelaide.
The estate now has three labels. The Le Peche Mignon (The Guilty Pleasure), Eminence and a unique labelling for their vintage sparkling under Assembly. Wines are only bottled and sold if the fruit is of their exacting standards along with winemaking.
Clare now has the responsibility of winemaking too, with consultation from iconic winemakers from across the region, each representing a unique understanding of their varietals, region and stylistic ambitions.
Fruit is picked by hand in the cool of the morning, lightly crushed and fermented in small old-oak barrels, allowing greater small-batch quality control. Indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation, some batches go through malolactic fermentation to promote softer fine-acid. Wine is left on its lees and stirred to promote texture and roundness.
Care is given to maintain natural acidity and concentration while maintaining texture and length.
A mid weight, restrained, subtle, yet complex Chardonnay.
Aromas of flint, stone-fruit and almond. Pristine rich, fresh, fruit followed by soft texture, fine-acid and a persisting finish.