2020 Penfolds Yattarna Bin 144 Chardonnay
Wine Details for 2020 Penfolds Yattarna Bin 144 Chardonnay
|Type of Wine||Australia White : Known as much for their innovative methods as they are for the stunning quality of their wines, Australian winemakers never fail to put their own unique spin on varietals such as Riesling, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc. If you're in the mood for something a little different, these whites will make you fall in love with wine again.|
: Chardonnay has carved its path towards the title “king of white grapes” in subtle yet striking fashion, playing instrumental roles throughout the course of history. It was the chosen grape variety which celebrated the inception of the very first Champagne house - Ruinart, which insists “Chardonnay is the golden thread that runs through the Ruinart taste. “ “Remember men, it’s not just France we’re fighting for, it’s Champagne,” Winston Churchill. The infamous and celebrated French author, Alexandre Dumas once declared a high quality chardonnay wine from Le Montrachet was one that is only appropriate to sip “on bended knees, with head bowed.” And of course, history was made once again when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was awarded first prize in the famous tasting of the “1976 Judgement of Paris,” changing the world’s view on California Chardonnay, inspiring vintners and altering the landscape of California winemaking forever.
The origin of the Chardonnay grape can be traced back to the small village of Macon in the Burgundy appellation of France. The varietal, whose name means “a place of thistles” in Latin, is the offspring of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Like most prominent grape varietals, the exact circumstances of its inception are unknown; however, it is interesting to note that Gouais Blanc originated in Germany. It is speculated that the ancient Romans, who successfully subdued the Germanic tribes in 6 AD, planted Gouais Blanc in French soil, unwittingly prompting the crossbreeding of the two varietals. If this is the case, the history of the Chardonnay grape goes back much further.
The Noble Chardonnay grape variety is most happy in the winegrowing appellation of Burgundy, its home and birth place. Burgundy’s grand Terroir of marl limestone soils and cool climate allows the Chardonnay grape to express itself to its full zenith. Interestingly, the varietal is extremely flexible and can adapt to a wide diversity of soils, allowing the terroir in which it grows to dictate the qualities of the grape and thus revealing a multitude of personalities. For instance, there are subtle yet distinguishing differences in terroir in the Burgundian villages of Puligny-Montrachet, Chablis, Meursault, Corton Charlemagne, Macon, etc. which are all fashioned in their own unique way. The difference in each Climat or Lieu-dit, such as Le Montrachet (Puligny-Montrachet) and Valmur (Chablis) can take one further down the proverbial “rabbit-hole” and into the wonderful, yet complex world of Burgundy wines. However, Burgundy is but one prime growing location for this tremendously adaptable grape variety.
The spread of Chardonnay would eventually take root in Champagne, where it excelled in the region’s cool climate and chalky, sub-soils. For top Champagne producers, it became the main ingredient in their high quality, high profile Blanc de Blancs. It would also begin to be blended with the two other acceptable varietals of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (red skinned grapes). The chardonnay grape is now planted in 10,000 of the 34,000 hectares of Champagne.
Chardonnay would find its way to California in the late 1800’s but would remain obscure for more than a century due to ignorance of the varietal and lack of knowledge on how to marry it with appropriate terroir. Things changed in the 1970’s when Chardonnay saw a resurgence world-wide, mostly due to the 1976 Judgement of Paris. The unthinkable happened when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena bested some of Burgundy’s finest chardonnay offerings from Batard-Montrachet and Meursault. This event helped place California on the map, changing the face of California winemaking forever. It rejuvenated the cultivation of the Chardonnay grape variety, which saw an exponential growth world-wide.
Much like the climats of Burgundy which have their own unique terroir, Chardonnay’s adaptability has found a home in the diverse appellations, terroirs and climates of California. The cool climate locations produce crisp wines with Burgundian nuances, while warmer climates produce wines with opulent, ripe fruit reminiscent of pineapple, mango and papaya. Terroir also dictates the personality, steel and concrete tanks versus oak, and the list goes. From buttery, oak-infused heady wines to crisp, refreshing cool climate fashioned Chardonnays, the grape variety can be extremely modified. There are not enough letters in Microsoft Word to demonstrate all the different nuances, qualities, differences of terroir, climate and winemaking techniques that would encompass in full, the details of the Chardonnay grape.
The well-travelled grape varietal of Chardonnay has become the fascination of consumers around the world, becoming the most written about of all grapes. Today, it is planted in over 40 countries, amassing an impressive 211,000 hectares (500,000 acres) across the globe. From Burgundy to Champagne, Napa to Sonoma, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Chardonnay graces vineyards around the world, captivating its audience with its multiple personalities. “So powerful is the ‘C-word’ on a wine label,” as the famed Jancis Robinson exclaimed. Since its discovery in Macon, this C-word has become a dominant force in the world of wine, changing history, winemaking and the understanding of winegrowing and its powerful attributes to a single varietal.
: In the past few decades, Australian wine has broken through the “Rest of the World” category and into one of the top players in today’s market. It burst onto the scene in the 1980s offering the world vibrant, fruit forward wines of exceptional value. A decade later, Australian vintners were producing intense, concentrated examples of Shiraz (Syrah), Grenache and red blends which began to dominate the wine market. Today, it is an extremely important wine producing country, both in terms of quality and scale.
Australia boasts 150,000 hectares under vine with an annual output of 10.6 million hectoliters, placing it sixth among all leading wine producers in the world. The country has 2,500 wineries and around 6,000 growers, who operate under a complex appellation system with over 65 distinct designations. Many of today’s brands, such as Penfold’s, Clarendeon Hills and D’Arenberg, have a strong international presence as do its well-trained and well-qualified wine professionals, who have spread their expertise to many corners of the world.
Shiraz (Syrah) has greatly contributed to the country’s success and rise to international recognition. Of the 150,000 hectares currently being cultivated in Australia, 99,000 are planted to Syrah. The country remains behind only France in regards to vineyard space and export proportion. Chardonnay has become its second largest export and together with Syrah, have propelled the Australian economy, which sees $40 billion in wine exports each year. The country now boasts a plethora of grape varieties, from Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir to Riesling and Semillon. This is greatly possible due to Australia’s vast topography, climate and terroir.
Australia’s vast size and huge range of climatic geographical conditions, makes it one of the most versatile winegrowing countries in the world. Overall, the climate is affected by the latitude, but regional features such as altitude and proximity to the oceans also plays a significant role. From coastal influenced areas using cooler climate varietals in Victoria to the northern reaches and its Mediterranean climatic influence to Tasmania in the south, which is known for graceful Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. The portfolio of grape varieties greatly reflects this immense geographical and climatic diversity.
The country has played a major role in the globalization of wine over the past 40 years, with its many brands and its global awareness of Syrah. It has long been at the forefront of the New World winemaking renaissance and dedicated to research and development of new industry implantation of technology in the vineyard and cellar. There is a bit of irony in its New World methods, as Australia boasts some of the oldest productive grape vines in the world (due to the fact that it has not yet been affected by phylloxera). This polarizing idea makes the region even more intriguing but also allows for a large range of production, from inexpensive Chardonnay to intense, complex Shiraz.
: The South Australian landscape is almost surreal in its beauty. It's a seemingly endless expanse of fields stretching out into the horizon, and it's easy to appreciate what a mixture of soils like this contributes to mouth-watering, delicious wines. With a variety of grapes ranging from Syrah (or as it's known in Australia, Shiraz), Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to Riesling, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, it's no surprise that South Australia is easily considered one of the biggest powerhouses in the wine world.
Given the sheer number of represented varietals, it's hard to pinpoint a signature taste, but that just means you get to enjoy exploring this region to your heart's content, always discovering new pleasures as you go. The quality is consistently high, and every wine offers something unique and different, making them a joy to collect. Whether you prefer reds or whites, Australian winemakers should at least be near the top of your priority list, as their wines are inspirational, compelling and powerful. We've prepared a selection of fine wines from every important sub-region of South Australia. There's something in here for everyone, and you can be sure that your guests will suddenly become very inquisitive about where you obtained the bottles you decide to uncork in front of them.
|Subregion||Mount Lofty Ranges|