The Chardonnay block at Port Phillip Estate’s Red Hill vineyard consists of three parcels. The largest area (1.3 hectares) is the oldest, at 28 years. A smaller area of 0.3 hectares was planted seven years later. A third area of more closely planted vines was established in 2013. The Red Hill vineyard is dominated by red basalt, yet the Chardonnay block is planted in an area of sandy grey loam over yellow clay. The site has deep soils with great water-holding capacity, so the vines require very little irrigation throughout Summer. The block’s position – on a hill that slopes East towards Western Port Bay – allows the sun to hit the vines as soon as it rises, giving them maximum sunshine. The East-West row orientation protects the fruit from the afternoon Summer sun, allowing it to ripen in a cooler environment. The cool evenings of Red Hill’s maritime climate and cold air flow down the hill help maintain the wine’s hallmark acidity. The grapes were gently whole-bunch pressed directly into French oak barriques (20% of which were new) and fermentation occurred spontaneously with ambient yeasts. After fermentation the wine was aged on lees (without battonage) for 11 months. It was bottled without fining and with minimal filtration.
The nose of the 2017 Port Phillip Estate ‘Red Hill’ Chardonnay is restrained, with cool and pure notes of lemon peel, sandalwood, waxy stone fruits and a gentle gingery spiciness. The palate is poised and powerful, starting with a combination of intense citrus and nectarine flavours that drive into a long finish. Topping this off is the characteristic acidity and chalky dryness that we have come to expect from this wine.
The Port Phillip Estate Red Hill vineyard is located on the Mornington Peninsula on Eocene volcanic soils. Our wines are made from domain grown, handpicked grapes and aim to manifest terroir: the integration of our geology and soils with the macroclimate of our region, the mesoclimates of the various sites within our vineyard and the weather of the annual grape growing season. Our cultural operations in the vineyard and practices in the winery endeavour to articulate these unique characteristics diligently, respectfully and without artifice.