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 31 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 228L and 350L French oak barrels (20% 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.
Restrained and elegant, the nose offers complex grapefruit, flint and white nectarine aromas. More citrus flavours of lemon tart and mandarin frame the palate with fine moreish acidity. A soft mid-palate texture leads to an intense yellow grapefruit finish that is long, sustained and full of pith and minerality. The restrained power and pleasing, acid-driven finish will hold the wine in great shape for many years.
The Real Review, February 2023
Light to mid straw-yellow with an intense mineral/struck flint aroma, smoky mineral nuances adding to the deliciously refined pear/apple/nectarine fruit. There is a lot of flinty reduction but the wine is superbly put together and satisfying. Long, long carry.
Wine Pilot, February 2023
Pale lemon in colour. There are notes of matchsticks and lemon zest on the nose. Hazelnuts, hints of stone fruit and a minerally backing. The wine has good focus and is linear in style. The balance and intensity sails through the full length of this wine. Fine acidity is intertwined with the rich fruit notes. Great drinking over the next three to five years.
Vinous, May 2023
There’s a brilliant entry to the 2021 Red Hill Chardonnay that is full of personality. It displays a rich core of peach melba and floral tones against a vanillin oak background. Subtle flinty flavours shine through against a backdrop of complex citrus underpinned by vibrant acidity.
Halliday Wine Companion, August 2023
It’s so good. Savoury, tangy and alive with a light tannic pull on the finish. In between, citrus, white peach and lots of warming spices with mouth-watering acidity. There’s a lot going on with this terrific wine, great now and will garner more complexity in time.
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.