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 29 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. Nestled on a hill facing East, the block’s aspect exposes the fruit to maximum morning sunshine but 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 fruit was gently whole-bunch pressed directly into French oak barriques (15% of which were new), and fermentation occurred spontaneously with ambient yeasts. Following fermentation, the wine was aged on lees (without battonage) for 11 months. It was bottled without fining and with minimal filtration.
Reticent in its youth, the wine opens with reductive notes of flint, brown spice, and lees influenced aromas. It opens to reveal a fruiter side; stone fruit and grapefruit juice aromas. The palate is long, with a refined flow and textured mid-palate balancing the acidity from the cool Red Hill site. The intense finish delivers more grapefruit flavour and a crisp citrus zest edge. Delicate yet powerful, this wine will benefit from time in the cellar.
Degustation for Dignity
Since becoming chief winemaker at Port Phillip Estate a few years ago, Glen Hayley has taken the estate’s already good wines to new levels of quality and detail. This wine from the very good 2018 vintage, was made predominantly from an east-facing hillside block of vines first planted in the late 1980’s and was fermented wild in barrel using ambient yeasts. An excellent expression of modern Australian chardonnay: pure, zesty, with a lovely line of minerality running through it. Unlike some modern Australian chardonnay though it is not lean and mean: there is still plenty of the chardonnay grapes characteristic richness and texture to be found.
The Wine Front, July 2019
It’s another beauty under this label. Refined power. White peach, mineral, spicy oak, grapefruit and toast. It’s wine of impact and persistence. It has an extra something. It flings authoritatively through the finish. It’s beautiful.
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.