2008 Chardonnay SOLD OUT
"Fresh as a crisp, summer’s morning. It needs time to breathe, but once it’s opened up it’s full of almond and meal and grapefruit flavours. Love the length. Love those exotic almond tones. Gorgeous, piercing length. Tremendous chardonnay, no doubting it. Both rich and trim at once. Satiny texture, without it being syrupy or excessively oaked. Straw notes. This is up there with the best Savaterre has produced. 95 points"
Campbell Mathinson, The Wine Front : March 2010 (Srewcap release)
After the apocalyptic 2007 season which saw the Savaterre vintage “declassified” from the Savaterre label to our “Les Enfants” label*, the 2008 was a return to the gentle growing conditions we have come to expect here in the foothills of the Victorian alps.
After 14 years of observing our vines mature from brash, wild juveniles full of youthful exuberance and vigour, to the mature 2008 vines it is wonderful to see the wine these vines have produced. Wonderfully structured, balanced, powerful, ethereal, brooding wines with potential to cellar and improve for many years.
I have often been asked “what is the secret to making great wine?” A question I also used to ponder during my university days. Well here it is in a nutshell. There are no secrets! All the mystery is really about “terroir” - a French word that encompasses the totality of the vines growing conditions. It takes into account soil, wind, aspect, humidity, water etc. Terroir and an attention to detail at every stage of the growing and winemaking process. For me this means firstly and the key “secret” to quality wine is being lucky enough to have access a vineyard site of the upmost quality.
We can discuss over many hours why it’s such a fantastic site but basically tasting the grapes and then the wine should stop any further discussion. I actually used to be disturbed by how pure and powerful the flavours were in my grapes. I soon discovered that same power on several trips to grand cru vineyards in Europe. Seeing no reason to reinvent the wheel I also planted the vines very close together (over 8000 vines per Ha). This is important as a technique that reflects “terroir” by limiting the amount of fruit per vine. In our case less than one bottle per vine. This is about 3 to 4 times lower than Australia’s normal yield per vine.
The second key to good wine is to treat your vineyard respectfully and keep it “alive”.
Savaterre has been farmed using organic and biodynamic methods for many years now. This means that our wines are free of all artificial chemical treatments, weed killers, pesticides, fungicides, insecticides and artificial fertilizers. Instead, we have stepped back in time to ensure the soils are only nourished by organic composts, manures and Biodynamic preparations that return microscopic life back to our ancient soils.
The final key is to let the wine make itself. There is no need to intervene and rush nature.
This simply means letting wild, indigenous yeasts and bacteria ferment the wine. We don’t add cultured yeast. This again allows the vineyard, the “terroir” to speak. We use low tech basket presses for the chardonnay and whole bunch ferment the pinot noir. Whole bunch fermentation is quite rare in Australia but reasonably common in some of Burgundy’s better producers. It allows a slower fermentation and adds complexity to flavour and structure. You can only do this with perfectly ripe grapes from low yielding vines otherwise all you get is a green dilute wine.
The wine matures in high quality French oak in a process known as elevage. This is a French word for the wines upbringing or developmental stage in barrel and bottle. This is not a passive time as many people think. Bacteria, oak and time work together in a cool environment to bring the wine to its potential. Here it is important to let the wines progress at their own speed. I never have a particular time the wine must be released or bottled. Only when it is ready. This is not calculated by a machine but by my palate. Like many things in life, you cannot hurry quality.
After the wine is bottled I store it for up to a year to make sure it “comes together” harmoniously to ensure enjoyment for my patrons.
I am very proud of this vintage. Great weather and growing conditions ensured fabulous fruit.
This year I have bottled the Chardonnay under cork and Screw cap. They are both identical wine. They have been prepared slightly differently for bottling due to propensity of screw caps to get reductive and smell. Although I have a very low instance of cork taint due to new cork processing technique, I liked what the screw cap brought to the Chardonnay in particular. However, I love cork too and so roughly 30% of the vintage is bottled under screwcap and the rest under grade ‘A’ hand selected cork. This is the highest standard of cork available in the world.
Below I have a copy of a review from Campbell Mattinson’s Winefront website - winefront.com.au
I can’t really add much more than this to Campbell’s review. I concur.
The wine under cork is, in my opinion, the one that’s drinking well and shows a lot more complexity and power at this stage. This is one of the best wines I have ever made. I am extremely happy with both wines and proud to put my label on them. Both wines need to be open for a few hours at least to breathe while they are still under 5 years old.
Savaterre Chardonnay 2008
Wednesday, Mar 24 2010 by Campbell Mattinson
"In a welcome departure, Savaterre is now bottling some of its chardonnay under screwcap - about a third went under screwcap for this 2008, the rest under cork. I’ve tasted both versions twice over the past couple of weeks, and both times the cork- and screwcap-sealed wines have tasted like two different wines – the cork-sealed wine is richer, fuller, sexier as a young wine; the screwcap-sealed is more mineral, leaner, its gentle reductive tones working as a positive. Generousity versus reserve.
This review of the 2008 Savaterre Chardonnay is from the screwcap-sealed bottle.
Fresh as a crisp, summer’s morning. It needs time to breathe, but once it’s opened up it’s full of almond and meal and grapefruit flavours. Love the length. Love those exotic almond tones. Gorgeous, piercing length. Tremendous chardonnay, no doubting it. Both rich and trim at once. Satiny texture, without it being syrupy or excessively oaked. Straw notes. This is up there with the best Savaterre has produced. Rated: 95 Points"
All grapes under this label are sourced exclusively from the Savaterre Vineyard in Beechworth.
It is imperative to open this wine at least 2 - 3 hours ahead of drinking if you are going to experience the layers of complexity the palate has to deliver. This is particularly relevant if you intend to enjoy to consume this wine in the next two years.
Unfiltered. Store at 14C.
*("Les Enfants" label is used for new vines and wines with a little less complexity than that required for the main label)