Little Reddie Brothers Malmsbury Chardonnay 2018
This is from one acre of P58 clone on its own roots planted at Rush Brothers, on basalt with rusted basalt and quartz. The vineyard is dry-grown and sits at 450-500m ASL on a gentle northeast-facing slope. It's a rad spot. The vineyard is very astutely managed by John Rush, who planted the vines in 1988. I had some involvement with this vineyard throughout the year, pruning and helping out when hands were needed. The canopy and yield management is exceptional and thus the use of systemic fungicide is very limited (however the 2018 growing season was very challenging in regards to downy mildew, thus there was an application of phosphoric acid during early summer 2018, the only use since 2011). This and the wound sealant are the only deviations from organics.
This fruit saw very gentle whole bunch pressing, manual operation with limited turning. It was cold-settled in stainless without additions then fermented in older puncheon and barrique (with one new Taransaud puncheon). I like to drop the temperature of the ferments just after they start to go, firstly to slow the yeast population growth and also to create a population that will be happier at lower temperatures. This means after the initial drop, they will generally stay sub-18 degrees and ferment very slowly through the autumn, winter and spring before hopefully becoming dry in late summer. Barrels were topped weekly to minimise the oxidative nature of sulphur-free handling. The wine was racked into tank with 15 ppm sulphur in early February, then bottled on the 12th of August 2019 with a further 10 ppm SO2 (these sulphur additions are well below antibiotic levels, and so work exclusively as an antioxidant, the penultimate step towards making a clean, stable and varietal wine with zero sulphur). Extended elevage is as vital to stability and deliciousness in this regard, the wine having 12 months in oak, 6 months in stainless and a further 13 months rest under natural cork.
The 2018 wines are so balanced and powerful from Central Victoria. Abundant, ripe flavours with healthy acidities and complimentary alcohol. It’s a good, long living vintage.