WINTER EDITION – WHAT’S ON IN THE  HUNTER VALLEY

CHARDONNAY

Discover the allure of Chardonnay and explore why Australians adore this versatile grape, from fruit forward to full bodied.

Equus Chardonnay

Saddler's Creek Wines

CHardonnay

Australians have a deep-seated love for Chardonnay, a versatile and adaptable grape variety that thrives in the diverse climates of the country. From the cool regions of Tasmania to the warm vineyards of Hunter Valley, Chardonnay’s ability to express unique terroirs and winemaking techniques has made it a favourite among wine enthusiasts. Whether it’s the crisp, citrusy notes of an unoaked Chardonnay or the rich, buttery flavours of an oak-aged wine, there’s a style of Chardonnay to suit every palate.

This International Chardonnay Day, we invite you to explore the many facets and flavours of this beloved grape and discover why it holds a special place in the hearts of Australians.

Chardonnay’s Origin

Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety that originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France. The grape’s name is derived from the village of Chardonnay in the Mâconnais region of Burgundy. Modern DNA research has revealed that Chardonnay is the result of a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc, a white grape variety brought to France by the Romans from Croatia.

The grape’s journey to Australia began with James Busby, often referred to as the father of Australian viticulture. In 1832, Busby brought a collection of vine cuttings, including Chardonnay, from Europe to Australia. These cuttings were initially planted in the Sydney Botanical Gardens and at Busby’s estate, Kirkton, in the Hunter Valley. Despite its early introduction, Chardonnay did not gain significant popularity in Australia until the 1970s. The grape’s adaptability to various climates and its disease resistance made it a suitable choice for Australian vineyards. By the 1980s and 1990s, Australian Chardonnay had achieved international acclaim, solidifying its place as a staple in the country’s wine industry.

Food Pairing with Chardonnay

This diversity in style makes it an excellent companion for a wide range of dishes, but the key to successful pairings lies in matching the wine’s style with the right foods. For oaked Chardonnay, which boasts rich, buttery, and toasty flavours, pair it with creamy, savoury dishes like lobster with garlic butter, roasted chicken with herbs, or creamy pasta. Unoaked Chardonnay, known for its crisp, citrusy, and mineral notes, complements lighter fare such as fresh prawns, sushi, or salads. When using Chardonnay as an ingredient, consider recipes like creamy chicken in white wine sauce or mussels in a creamy white wine garlic sauce, which allow the wine’s flavours to enhance the dish. By understanding the characteristics of different Chardonnay styles, you can create harmonious and delightful food pairings that elevate both the wine and the meal.

Terroir Influence

Chardonnay is renowned for its remarkable versatility, thriving in a wide range of climates from cool to warm, which significantly influences its flavour profiles. In cooler climates, such as Burgundy in France or the Yarra Valley in Australia, Chardonnay tends to exhibit high acidity with crisp, citrusy notes of green apple and lemon, often accompanied by a mineral character. Conversely, in warmer climates like California’s Napa Valley or Australia’s Hunter Valley, Chardonnay develops richer, fuller-bodied flavours with tropical fruit notes such as pineapple and mango, and often a creamy, buttery texture due to oak aging. This adaptability allows winemakers to craft a diverse array of styles, from lean and zesty to opulent and complex, making Chardonnay a favourite among wine enthusiasts worldwide.

The Winemaker’s Grape

Chardonnay is often referred to as the “winemaker’s grape” due to its incredible versatility and adaptability to various winemaking techniques. This grape can be crafted into a wide range of styles, from crisp and acidic to rich and buttery, depending on the methods employed. Techniques such as malolactic fermentation, which converts sharp malic acid into softer lactic acid, can impart a creamy, buttery texture to the wine. Different oak barrels, both in size and origin, can impart different flavours. At Saddler’s Creek Wines, winemakers embrace this flexibility, experimenting with different terroirs and oak treatments to create unique expressions of Chardonnay. Their approach includes both traditional and innovative methods, allowing them to produce a diverse portfolio that highlights the grape’s full potential.

Oaked vs. Unoaked

Chardonnay can be crafted into two distinct styles: oaked and unoaked. Oaked Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels, which imparts rich, creamy flavours with a fuller body. The flavour profile is influenced by the type of oak used such as French or American oak. In contrast, unoaked Chardonnay is fermented in stainless steel tanks, preserving the grape’s natural crispness and bright acidity. It features fresh, fruit-forward flavours such as green apple, citrus, and tropical fruits. Saddler’s Creek Wines offers both styles, allowing wine enthusiasts to explore the full spectrum of Chardonnay’s potential, from the elegant, mineral-driven unoaked versions to the opulent, buttery oaked expressions.

EXPLORE SADDLER'S CHARDONNAY

Saddler’s Creek Wines has 8 Chardonnay’s to choose. Explore your style from fruit forward Chablis style of the”il Franco’ to the big bold buttery ‘Pumpshed’ Block. If you can decide, simply opt for the Chardonnay journey which includes a selection of six wines across all the collections.

APC – Always Pour Chardonnay!

2022
Alessandro Reserve Chardonnay

Succulent white peach, with juicy nectarines and a hint of grapefruit, it’s rich and elegant, the oak is gentle yet flavoursome and complex.

2022
Ryan’s Reserve
Chardonnay

An elegant and rich wine, expressing ripe melon and juicy peach flavours. Well balanced acidity with a creamy oak mouthfeel. LAST AND FINAL RELEASE

2022
EQUUS Series XV
Chardonnay

An elegant expression of single vineyard perfection is showcased in this 25th-anniversary edition. CLUB EQUUS EXCLUSIVE (to view in store please log in).

2023 Winemaker’s Craft
‘Il Franco’
Chardonnay

This exceptional wine was born from a personal request by our very own Frank Laureti, created with a deep appreciation for the wine lovers. This unoaked Chardonnay is bright and refreshing.

Winemaker's Craft Marrowbone Chardonnay

2023 Winemaker’s Craft ‘Marrowbone’
Chardonnay

Aromas of stone fruit and honeysuckle, the palate is driven by white peach and tropical fruit with a long and buttery finish. A long time favourite amongst Club Equus Members.

2023 Winemaker’s Craft “Pump Shed’
Chardonnay

The boldest of all the Chardonnay’s. Crafted from 100% Langhorne Creek fruit, a delightful lemon curd texture on the palate. Malo-lactic fermentation provides a creamy textured wine.

Saddler's Chardonnay

2023
Saddler’s
Chardonnay

A vibrant palate of fresh honeydew, citrus and quince. Rich balanced fruit harmonises with subtle, elegant oak complexity with a lingering finish.

NV Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir

NV Sparkling
Saddler’s
Chardonnay Pinot Noir

Rich lemon butter characters with a delicate fine bead. A delicious sparkling wine is perfect for any celebration.

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