From the tasting team

Philip Rich on Yarra Valley chardonnay

By Philip Rich

2 Feb, 2022

Halliday Tasting Team member Philip Rich shares his thoughts on the evolution of Australian chardonnay, with a particular focus on the Yarra Valley and Oakridge winemaker David Bicknell. 

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The continued rise of Australian chardonnay is the most exciting development I have witnessed in Australian wine over the last 20 years. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that when I wrote my first Top 20 Wines of the Year list for the Australian Financial Review Magazine back in the early 2000s, I considered not including a chardonnay at all. I chose one – Giaconda, from memory.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the history of chardonnay, compared to say shiraz or cabernet, is relatively short in Australia and that original Margaret River plantings at Vasse Felix (1967), Moss Wood (1969), Cape Mentelle (1970) and Cullen (1971) all included cabernet but not chardonnay. The variety simply wasn’t on Dr John Gladstones' radar when his two papers convinced these wine pioneers to take a chance here.  

Jump to Philip's reviews on four 2020 Oakridge Wines chardonnays.