Now this is the perfect example of what happens when a French winemaker gets his hands on premium Australian Chardonnay fruit. The result is a fine-boned, clean, fresh and utterly delicious Chardonnay that is built to drink now however, time in the cellar will only enhance it's potential.
Vintage: Vintage at Burch Family Wines is a protracted event which commences each February and concludes in April. It is a time of frenetic activity, excitement and lots of weather watching. In all cropping pursuits, the weather over the ripening period comes under increased scrutiny the closer one gets to harvest. During this annual progression of the seasons, the quality and style of each vintage evolves.
The 2016 vintage in the Great Southern commenced on 6th February with the harvest of Pinot Noir for Grand Jete and concluded on 10th April with the harvest of the Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon. In this cool continental climate, the winter of 2015 was mild with sufficient rains to replenish catchments. The spring, less blustery than preceding years gave way to a hot start to summer.
When veraison began, in mid-January, the native marri blossom was curiously absent. The “bird pressure” as we call it, can have a significant impact on quality, quantity and stress levels. As summer passed into autumn, the more southerly of the sub-regions, Mount Barker and Porongurup. spent the vintage period in and out of humid on-shore streams with rainfall to April, twice the average.
In review, the quality of the 2016 vintage ranges from good to great across all varieties, thanks to the diligent efforts of our vineyard team to select only the best grapes under challenging circumstances. It is a vintage like 2016 that tests our collective expertise to create good outcomes. Under such pressure, the necessary changes to picking criteria can yield unexpected, positive results and the opportunity to acquire new knowledge from the experience.
Vineyards: The Marchand & Burch ‘Villages’ Chardonnay is sourced from our Mount Barrow vineyard in the Mount Barker sub-region of the Great Southern. Located on the eastern or Porongurup boundary, this vineyard is dedicated to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for still and sparkling wine. The unique attributes of this site include an elevation of 380m and a panorama of vineyard aspects from north to south facing. Across the many Chardonnay blocks on Mount Barrow, a variety of clones have been planted.
The French clones of 95, 96, 277 and 76 predominate the site with smaller portions of Gin Gin and the American clones. The vine density on this site is 2,222 vines per hectare and the canopy a single cordon with vertical positioning of shoots.
Vinification: Each batch is handpicked around 12⁰ Be. The individual parcels of grapes are cooled, hand sorted then whole bunch pressed to separate the finest free run juice. In addition a light pressing cuts is taken and made separately for later blending. After minimal settling, the juices are allowed to ferment naturally in 50% older French oak and 50% stainless steel.
The oak is composed of barriques, hogsheads and puncheons. Fermentation temperature is between 18⁰C to 22⁰C and the lees are stirred weekly from later in the fermentation until dry. The separate parcels are matured on lees in barrel and tank for 9 months and a portion of each batch undergoes malolactic conversion. The wine was blended to tank and received minimal fining and filtration prior to bottling in November 2016.
Tasting Notes: A dry straw colour with a subtle bouquet of white field flowers, meringue and citrus zest. The flavours and textures of finely ground nutmeal and lemon curd, give weight to the palate whilst a fine stony acidity adds length and crispness.
Cellaring: A wine of fine structure, gentle fruit and bright acid, the 2016 Marchand & Burch "Villages" Chardonnay will evolve over the next 4 years.
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2016 Marchand & Burch 'Villages' Great Southern Chardonnay