|New World White Wine of the Year 2007
Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay 2005
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
It merits 'New world white wine of the year' stylistically as the touchstone contemporary chardonnay, authentically expressive of its terroir as well as achieving outstanding price-quality rapport, outclassing many white burgundies and Californian chardonnays at two or three times the price.
Terroir (=total vineyard environment) & Vintage Synopsis
Synergistic with great wines, this marginal climate and unique diurnal temperature extreme is pivotal to the substantially enhanced natural acidity, conjointly dry summers and autumn ripening conditions produces grapes with ideal fruit composition and concentrated flavor. Preceded by a cool, dry summer, followed by a long cool and dry autumn the 2005 vintage is excellent. Taking root in 1995 the M3 single vineyard is close planted with low yielding and exciting new Bernard clones from Burgundy, in soils comprising a sandy brown loam over red-yellow clay with some underlying shale.
Coiled tangy, zingy lemon edged entry to palate, very Chablis like structure, tightly bound then fleshing out more on the mid-palate with apricot and subtle peach flavors; seductive barrel ferment characters of buttered toast with cone honey and light creamy texture buildup with spicy oak yet, perfectly restrained, poised and seamless. Lingering intense citrus aftertaste and spice with flinty, impelling cold steel acidity (impressive 6.8 g/l acid) finishing savory, chalky and bone dry with protracted gravelly minerals.
Serving & Food Pairing
I would suggest serving this
wine a touch cooler than other chardonnays to make the most of its
vibrant acidity, around 8 degrees Celsius (47 Fahrenheit) particularly
if alfresco. Use a wider bowl glass and allow plenty of time to breath
opening a good 30 minutes prior to serving. The vibrant acidity and
alacrity of this wine engenders an extra versatility and compatibility
to spicy Asian cuisines where many chardonnays would not. No hesitation
in pairing with Indian spiced poultry, seafood dishes, or deep-fried
appetizers; Thai and Malaysian sweeter yellow curries with seafood,
heavenly I would think with crayfish and Sri Lankan style yellow curry.
Also tempting to experiment with Japanese cuisine, strong raw fish and
miso stocks. At the risk of a cliché, I would be most happy sitting
down to freshly-chucked oysters with this wine and envisage it would
match to an almost infinite number of European influenced creamy,
seafood and poultry dishes.
Longevity & Price Point
Curtis Marsh, The Wandering Palate